Fixed It For You


From Tuesday night with some interesting commentary on Wednesday night:

Jared Bybee
”Hey Bertis, I get that for your narrative to work you need some bad – or at least indifferent – actors. And your choice to paint me as one of those actors with a facebook post quibbling with my word choice, rather than seeking to understand with a coffee invite or phone call, is totally yours to make. Heck – I’m outta here anyway so perhaps it is not worth your time to substantively engage with me – you have your reasons. But I don’t think it helps – not kids, not CCSD generally, not the quality of public discourse – and it is certainly not the only option.

I have never turned down a meeting with someone, or refused to stay after a board meeting and talk, or refused a phone call (all very much to my family’s chagrin). I certainly don’t have all the answers, but if my perspective is different than yours on this district that we love, and you want to have an actual conversation and understanding – I’m up for it. I don’t speak for other BOE members or Dr. Means, but it has been my experience that they are similarly interested in engaging.

It is a strange time to be a supporter of our local schools indeed…”

Bertis Downs
“Dear Jared.

As to your first point, perhaps you missed the call or did not recognized the number or whatever, but before I put that #ThereFixedItForYou copy of the letter on Facebook (an overnight project that had started as a thought experiment and ended up being one of those 1000 word pictures), I called you on the number that I have in my phone for you. Heck maybe I called the wrong number….anyway, I did not hear back and I also didn’t really mind— I know you’re busy and it was no big deal. But when I saw you at the CCSD BOE Tuesday discipline work session, the 4 PMmeeting that had actually been noticed on the CCSD calendar part of the official website, I kind of waved/smiled as the room was gathering and as I was taking my seat over in the corner, and although I thought I had caught your eye, maybe you didn’t see me– although I sat across the room from you for the next hour at what ended up being a very interesting meeting (principals talking about how they do discipline in our schools, in all its granular complexity, truly insightful and inspiring) even before the executive session began and I was excused from the room, which I understand and have no problem with. Things gotta be done right, I get that.

And Jared, I really don’t know what you’re talking about in terms of a “narrative.” I don’t have a particular “narrative,” or for that matter “data points” but whatever….maybe some people are better at reading minds than I am.

The image was just about various things that you and Linda Davis put in an official damage control letter to the CCSD community that very clearly mischaracterized what the superintendent had said on 4/18/19, on what seems like a very important matter, a potential conflict of interest stemming not so much from the exact amount that got/gets/will get paid (even though that amount appears to be above the amount allowed in the contract, and according to your letter will now be donated to CCSD “to expand professional learning opportunities for district teachers in the future”), but that a financial relationship seemed to have existed and perhaps still does, with a third-party vendor, Avid, adopted last year in various stages throughout the year, including board approval in June (6/14/18 I think). That raises at least a yellow flag for lots of people who have an interest in the district, the children and their schools, the educators who work in those schools, parents and the people who volunteer in our schools et al. And I would imagine it would pique the curiosity of the BOE members who in my non-expert understanding have ultimate authority for our school system and all it takes to operate them successfully, including a pretty sizable, definitely not modest, budget.

Jared, we’ve both known the difference between present tense and past tense since well before our illustrious law school days. And I think lots of other people in our highly educated college town know the difference as well. Which is why plenty of other people, certainly not just me, are concerned about this official CCSD communique that you and Linda wrote very carefully to convey your narrative, okay?

And anyway, as you and Linda so rightly say “It is healthy for the community to probe and ask questions of the board of education and the district.” Yes indeed!

And although I don’t drink coffee, because I already have a hard enough time sleeping these days with so much to keep up with as a volunteer, I’m happy to get together anytime , sure. I’m a pretty friendly guy … but then again I know we’re both plenty busy these days, you running the school board, at least until there’s a new chairperson, and me as a supporter of our schools, parent, volunteer. I don’t normally check my phone when I get up in the middle of the night but I was dumb and made that mistake and saw a reply from Jared Bybee. So of course I had to check it out and now it’s an hour later and I hope I can get back to sleep. I have to go to and from ATL for statewide volunteer stuff with some friends and allies doing a conference on community schools. (I wish I could stay both days but unfortunately that is not possible with the hectic schedule here in Athenstown.) I do plan to beat the ATL traffic so I won’t be late for the 6 PMCCSD work session which is the only thing I see on the calendar for today:

My only remaining question is whether you and Linda Davis knew about the DMeans/AVID summer 2019 session before you wrote that letter on Monday, or after. Maybe I missed the answer somewhere in some fully transparent report (or a FB comment) but it seems odd that your letter would have come out on Monday, but that it would leave unaddressed a salient fact in the next day’s Flagpole article ( that was based on something the superintendent said at a Whit Davis townhall meeting. So I guess y’all didn’t know about the upcoming summer session or maybe the news story is wrong…I’m as usual just trying to figure it all out. Please advise.

As ever,

Bertis the Quibbler, I’ve been called worse!)

PS I have been meaning to ask, what did you mean by this statement in your interview a month ago announcing your departure from Athens and CCSD?

“Even after seeing all the complicated innards of how it all works, I remain steadfast in my optimism for CCSD and the direction we are headed.”

I think a lot of people are wondering– I know I am

PPS my alarm just went off—about jumped across the room—ugh!

Good morning sunshines!

Which reminds that even a stopped clock is right twice a day—and that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”

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