Shelton risks public trust in public schools

February 21, 2014 

Lexington residents take a deep interest in education, which sometimes might cause headaches for those managing a big complex school system. But it's a headache they must live with.

Superintendent Tom Shelton's announcement that Fayette County Public Schools must cut $20 million, a little less than 5 percent, from its $433 million budget is sure to bring stress and disagreement.

Any appearance that Shelton and his staff are withholding information to avoid public displeasure will only increase the stress. This seemed to be the case when Shelton refused to provide a reporter with a PowerPoint presentation he had shown at an open school board meeting, saying it was a preliminary document.

The information was provided to an elected body in a public forum, so how can it not be public?

Public schools rely on public support, including but certainly not limited to taxpayer support. Such support rests on trust, which can be earned only through openness and leveling with the public.

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