Thursday, September 11, 2008

Israeli school politics

There are members of my village who read this blog so I tried very hard to not include anything that can be construed as lashon hara.

I'm on the board of the PTA again this year in the girls school (vaad horim in Hebrew). One of the functions of the board is to approve the amount of money that each parent must pay. There are obligatory payments and optional payments, and some gray areas, such as the class trip.

The principal presented the payment sheet to us a week before school started. We accepted it all, changing some minor details, such as having 5th and 6th grade go on a 2 day overnight trip together, which would make it slightly cheaper for both classes.

One of the payments that was presented as obligatory was 30 shekels for dental insurance. A number of parents complained that there is no dental service so why are we paying for the insurance. One of the members of the board checked the law and found out it was only obligatory in a city that provides the service. He sent an email to the board and the principal explaining the law and requesting that the principal issue an apology and credit all the parents. He also suggested that the board was at fault for not verifying this information before-hand. I replied that I agreed with what he wrote, but it is not the board's responsibility to know all the laws and procedures and it was 100% the principal's mistake for presenting it as an obligatory payment. I explained that I don't have time or desire to verify that what the principal presents to us is true, and I suspect the other parents do not either. I don't have any problem with accepting that a mistake occurred, just accept it refund the money and get on with life.

A person who is not on the board saw the emails (looked at a board member's email) and wrote a nasty reply. A very cynical email was sent that the board is anti the new principal and that we are jumping on her for making a small mistake and we're all hypocrites. The email seemed to indicate that we are driving our children to hate the principal by having loud public discussions and we are harming the children and the school by doing this. (He knows about this because he went to university and read the books).

A minute after I read this a board member called me and asked if I read it. He had already prepared a response and he wanted me to sign on it. I told him that I would have to read it first. He sent me the letter which was a nasty personal response.

I sat down and modified his response to be much more diplomatic. I wrote that I will ignore your cynicism and hurtfulness and just answer the issue at hand. I then explained the situation and why his concerns were not justified. I also explained to him that the emails he saw were sent only to the board members and the principal and were not meant for the entire parent body.

In the end he apologized for his tone and his content and said he had taken things out of proportion.

1 comment:

Rafi G said...

people are crazy. they get hung up on idiocies