Here's what I can determine:
Board Directors were feeling blindsided by decisions that they, and the public, understood to be program placement decisions. These included the closure of the High Point location for Middle College, the creation of an Interagency site on Queen Anne, and the announced discontinuation of the kindergarten program at the EEU. There were others, but these were central.
Staff responded that none of these were, in fact, program placement decisions and that the superintendent had full authority to make all of these decisions without Board approval and without even reporting them to the Board. That response wasn't helpful.
Board Director Sue Peters proposed changes to Policy H01.00, School Closures, and the proposed changes were discussed at the Executive Committee's February 4th meeting. Staff was concerned about changing this policy and raised some legal issues. Everyone agreed that there was a lot of ambiguity around what is a school, a service, a program, or whatever. The Executive Committee determined that the issue also involves other policies, including Policy 2200, Equitable Access to Programs & Services which was due for discussion in the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee. They decided to work with that Committee to avoid a duplication of efforts.
Director Peters was back at the next Executive Committee meeting, on March 3rd, with proposed revisions to policy H01.00, School Closures; Policy 2200, Equitable Access to Programs & Services; and Policy F21.00, Specific Areas of Involvement Reserved for the District. She had BARs ready for introduction at the Board's March 16 meeting.
If you read the minutes of that meeting you will get the sense that the superintendent and staff were piqued by these proposals. Superintendent Nyland said that the proposed changes weren't made in accordance with the communications protocol or the policy revision process.
From the minutes:
"Supt. Nyland suggested a meeting of the whole or of the Executive Committee and staff to discuss the implications on where to draw the line on program, service and school involved closures. 5 These minutes were presented to the Executive Committee for approval on April 7, 2016.
"Directors agreed that a work session is preferable and noted they would like more advanced notice and more transparency as they are the front line when parents and community members come to question the decisions."From the minutes you can see that staff are trying to delay discussion and make it more complicated while the Board is trying to expedite discussion and make it simpler.
They decided to make this a topic of discussion at a work session on March 23.
The minutes of the March 23 meeting are long and include a lot of discussion, but no decision. Instead it's just everyone saying how glad they are to be discussing the issue and how important it is. But there is no resolution.
So where does that leave us? Nowhere. Director Peters' proposed policy revisions were not introduced at the April 6 Board meeting. The April 7 Executive Committee meeting packet includes the introduction of motion to amend these policies on the draft version of the agenda for the April 20 Board meeting and among the action items for the draft agenda for the May 4 Board meeting. Of course that's the agenda for the Executive Committee meeting. The meeting minutes have not yet been posted, so I don't know if the proposed changes will appear on final agendas for these meetings.
So where are we? The Staff is saying that bringing all of these decisions to the Board will change the decision-making authority and create all kinds of additional work for them, but the Board is saying that all the staff has to do is bring the decisions to the Board after they are made, provide the rationale, and get approval. Surely the decisions will be approved because the rationale will be so strong. Right? The staff don't want to admit that they often have scant rationale for their program placement decisions and they don't want to daylight their process - whatever it is. The Board is demanding transparency and the staff only want to pay lip service to the idea.