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Board splits

From left, Warrensburg school board members Diane Angell, Robert Frasier and Jonathan Boston hold their hands up to vote in favor of a proposal to hire two school resource officers. The board members who voted in opposition are, continuing from left, Nicole Winchell, Elaine Cowin and President Doug West. Absent is member Ash Anand. School board members who are consistently absent to meetings should step down.

The Warrensburg community is split over whether the school should hire armed officers for security, but one thing it should be able to agree on is that Ash Anand, the school board member who almost never goes to meetings, should leave the board.

Anand started his second four-year term in July of 2017, and since then, he has missed 31 out of 33 meetings. Board President Doug West said Anand travels a lot for business but stays in touch and “participates in committee meetings.

But last week’s vote on hiring two school resource officers is the perfect illustration of why Anand should step down. The vote on the seven-member board was 3-3. Anand couldn’t cast the tie-breaker, because he wasn’t there.

More than 50 people came to a recent public forum on the issue. More than 200 people signed an online petition to hire the officers. People care about this, and it should have gotten an up or down vote. Instead, the proposal failed because Anand was absent again.

We don’t begrudge him his busy schedule, but if he wants to participate in the community by serving on the school board, then he needs to go to the meetings.

Many of us tell our children that much of success in life can be credited to showing up. Fulfill your obligations — do what you say you will — and you’ll be ahead of at least half your competitors, because many people don’t.

So it’s not a good example for Warrensburg students when a member of the school board gets away with showing up to 6% of the board’s meetings. What grade would a Warrensburg high student get who showed up to 6% of her classes?

School board members are volunteers, and they deserve public gratitude for doing a job that is often time-consuming and thankless. We respect Anand’s urge to serve. But being there has to be part of it.

We’re surprised Anand hasn’t resigned from the board yet. He must by now realize he can’t give the position the time it deserves, and it’s not the sort of board you join just for the networking opportunity. Anyway, since he doesn’t go to meetings, he’s not networking.

School board members aren’t figureheads. They do important work, like deciding whether the school should hire armed guards, an issue that people in the community care deeply about.

Some feel armed guards could save their children’s lives if the rare but real possibility of a school shooter ever materialized.

Others feel the money could be better spent on counselors who could help students with the tumult of adolescence.

These are important decisions for the community that define the character of the school and shape students’ experience. If Anand is unable to show up for these votes, then he should step down so someone who is a little less busy can take his place.

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Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star’s editorial board, which consists of Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle, Publisher/Controller/Operations Director Brian Corcoran and citizen representatives Connie Bosse, Barb Sealy and Jean Aurilio.

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