School board needs to get it done, or get out of the way

There is a fundamental problem when it comes to the hiring of the next superintendent for the Public Schools of Robeson County.

It is the task of the Board of Education to find the best person, and we know of no one who has confidence that will happen. Some folks might trust The Six, others might trust The Five, but it seems remote that anyone could trust The Eleven — and whomever is selected to lead the system is going to need the full support of the board if higher educational ground can be claimed.

Complicating the task is that the best candidates from the search that ended last week without a superintendent being named have run hard in the other direction, leaving leftovers, raising the question of where will the board look now as it “regroups.”

This newspaper has been queried repeatedly in recent days about the possibility of a recall of board members, or perhaps the takeover of the system by the state.

As for a recall, it is a long and clumsy process, one that doesn’t promise any satisfying results beyond perhaps purging the board of some members who prefer power to progress. And while it might appear that almost anyone could better lead this system than this board, we aren’t sure we would include the state.

Our wish, and we know that it won’t happen to the degree that it needs to, is for school board members to acknowledge that they failed in 2015 in the superintendent’s search, have now failed a second time, and that mass resignations will come forward and that they can be replaced by thoughtful and accomplished people who are not slaves to petty politics and blinded by skin color.

Absent any of the above, it will be left to the existing board to make the right hire.

We encourage all its members to go to our front page today and read a story by Mike Gellatly, in which Olivia Oxendine, a member of the state Board of Education, and Rep. Charles Graham, a longtime educator, provide a road map that they need to follow.

The advice is simple, and we can offer it in even fewer words: Do the right thing.

That entails trying to work together as a board, putting aside the animosity, and hiring the best possible candidate that can be hired for such a difficult assignment. We hear it so often that it has become white noise, but everything about this county’s future depends on an improved school system because what we have now is essentially a Do Not Enter sign for industry and professional people giving us a look.

We have so much to offer, in no particular order: cheap land; an available workforce; major highway in all directions; a regional hospital; a major university and community college; affordable housing; the Lumber River, a state park that provides all the water we need; an airport; a good climate; and a location that is an easy drive to the beach, mountains and Raleigh, Charlotte and other urban centers.

But we have to get our K through 12th grade mess straightened out.

If you are a member of the school board, we join tens of thousands of fellow Robesonians who implore you to do your duty and find the best superintendent for this difficult assignment.

If you can’t, then please remove yourself as a boulder in the middle of that road.