Is Good Governance Illegal?

When Open and Transparent Beware the Wolves

A Case Study – Preface

In this case study, we will demonstrate clearly how the model for school governance detailed in previous segments is the chief contributor to widespread corruption, school board negligence, and direct detrimental impact on the community and students the school board is elected to serve. We will delve into specific cases of abuse of power, dereliction of school board duties, illegal activities, arrogant disregard for the well-being of students, and years of immoral and unethical behaviors that have ruined lives and brought a once well-respected school district to the height of infamy.

But, for our first few segments, let’s concentrate on the most recent school board meeting. Three very troublesome events occurred in the first half hour of this meeting that highlight the kinds of issues that are almost certainly occurring in your own school district. If you are interested, an archived stream of this board meeting is here.

The meeting opens at the 4:50 mark with the reading by the board vice president of a letter presumably written by 6 members of the board excoriating the seventh members for hosting a listening session with school district constituents. If you are interested, that letter is a matter of public record and can be found here.

Christina Tonsing, a recently elected member of the school board, ran on a campaign platform of openness, integrity, and transparency; clearly implying and on occasion implicitly stating that those were qualities lacking in the current school government. During her campaign, she hosted several listening sessions in order to hear from school district teachers and taxpayers about their concerns with the district. Of six candidates, Christina secured the second highest vote total (three new members were elected from a field of six.)

Given her campaign promises to open the window of good school governance to the constituency, she continued – against the “advice” of her fellow board members, to host these sessions after she was elected. She was clear that she was not at these sessions to make any decisions, but just to listen to the concerns of the constituency and, if needed, get their concerns added to school board agendas, discussions, and deliberations.

This level of public input into the governance of the public school particularly troubled the other members of the school board and greatly troubled the administration. And so, this letter was written, read in public, and entered into the record in an effort to put Christina in her place and put an end to this worrisome behavior. The board, as the letter states, has its own very controlled, very prohibitive, and very filtered method of hearing from the electorate. And it seems that any deviation from this process is threatening and a little too transparent for good school governance.

The letter implies that these meetings are illegal – they are not. It implies that Christina is putting the school board and school district at some liability – she is not. The letter implies that the school board has, itself, an open and ample resource for public input – they most certainly do not.

Your senator does it, your representative does it, your county commissioner does it, your mayor does it, your governor does it. You find it difficult in our neck of the woods to find a public meeting that doesn’t have one or more government officials in attendance to rub skin with constituents. The very idea that a school’s governors are above this public interaction ought to offend the senses of every voter in a school district. The very idea of excoriating a school board member for caring what parents want is troubling, to say the least. I hope Christina continues to do what is right by her constituents and that this board learns a lesson from her in proper governance of public school.

In our next segment, we shall return to this very meeting and discuss some troubling aspects of secret sessions and Missouri’s Open Meetings Law..


  1. Danielle Const on September 12, 2023 at 1:01 am

    This is very interesting! I live nearby and saw something about this in a newspaper. Thanks for explaining more of what happened!

    I was disappointed to find no links?

Leave a Comment