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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

School Board Wants Your Thoughts on Board Meetings

The issue of making the School Board meetings more productive continues.   (It is also the issue of productive for whom?  Are Board meetings for the Board to do business or an event where the public can learn about the business of the school district?)  Also to note, why can't the Board comments be three minutes?

They already cut the speaker time from 3 to 2 minutes starting at tomorrow's Board meeting.  Now, it's the start-time of the Board meetings.  At the Executive Committee meeting, a handout showed four options for Board meetings plus what other districts do, both regionally and nationally.  What other districts do varies wildly.

But now there are five options listed (versus the four on the handout at the meeting).   Three of them have testimony starting before 6 p.m. which I can't see at all as many people work until 5 or 5:30 p.m.  The other two options have it starting at 7 p.m. but that's AFTER all the agenda items have been heard and voted on.  Here's what it says for the 7 p.m. public testimony option:

(Public testimony would begin when the business portion was completed.  Those testifying would need to be prepared to start earlier or later than 7 p.m., depending on the rest of the meeting.)

So you'd need to be there by 6:30 p.m. in case they got through the agenda quickly (but at least you wouldn't need to leave work early).

So the one time - that likely makes sense for the most people which is 6-6:30 p.m. - so that the public can speak to the Board BEFORE it acts, is NOT on this list.

They are asking for feedback so please let the Board know your thoughts.

If you would like to offer feedback, please email Theresa Hale at tlhale@seattleschools.org by April 6, 2012. It would be the most helpful if you address the following questions:


1) Do you support moving the start time of regular Board meetings earlier (i.e. 4:15 p.m. or 4:30 p.m.)?
2) If so, indicate which option you prefer and why.
3) If not, why not?

10 comments:

KG said...

I spoke with a School board member Monday evening regarding the new two minute rule. This member said that the staffers from the school district swayed her to vote yes for this policy change. The meetings ran to late for them.

I told her I believe it was because some of the things brought forth by the public are true and uncomfortable for the Board to hear.

They cannot handle a lot of the truth. That is what I conclude from this bogus change.

Sahila said...

teachers work after hours most days...

school board staff bitch about having to work later a couple of nights a month?

and these are all senior people on good salaries?

guess they're not professionals then, but merely journeymen and women, bitching they dont get overtime...

poor babies... we must look out for them BEFORE we make sure that their employers - the parents of the district - get their needs and rights meet...

and yes - I can see how painful, embarrassing and irritating it must be, to have to be there while your employers (we the parents/community) point out how inadequately and nonsensically these people do their jobs...

Damn shame all around...

Anonymous said...

Marty McLaren blew that vote plain and simple. The meetings run too late for staff? Too bad. They're earning a salary. Get over it. (Sort of like what our teachers have to do to keep up with their classrooms. Heh Heh.)

Schedule additional meetings. Restrict the amount of dog and pony at each meeting. There are numerous solutions that don't take out administrative problems on the public.

SavvyVoter

Charlie Mas said...

If the meetings start earlier then the staff work day can end earlier, but it pushes the public testimony to the end of the meeting, after members of the public finish their work day, and therefore too late to address action items before the action is taken.

What if the meeting started early for the staff and the last two agenda items were public testimony and then action items?

Anonymous said...

So the new board, along with the veterans are finding ways to make themselves more comfy at the expense of the public. Didn't take long, did it?

At the meeting where the two minute rule was voted on, we had to listen to board members all chime in about how great their retreat was, which took 16 minutes, or 80% of the time they said they want to shave off the meetings.

Maybe some slow speaking, droning board members could make better use of our time first and lead by example. I guess the Sheryl Chow effect lingers on at SPS meetings, because they are oblivious to the clock while thanking staff and patting each other on the backs. Couldn't many of board members comments be sent via e-mail to constituents instead of sacrificing one third of the little opportunity the public has to speak to the board, in public? WSDWG

Anonymous said...

@WSDWG:

Yes! Bingo! The board self-promotion should also be limited to 2-mins. They have no idea, probably, how bad they sound. Droning on and on and on and on. Minus Carr, they have massive room for improvement.

And the Dog n Ponies from staff should be limited to 7 mins. Tops.

And give the public back their 3 mins. Sheesh.

-critical-

dan dempsey said...

How about using the Issaquah plan?

Testimony is scheduled as follows:

General testimony is at the meeting's start.

Testimony that is specific to a particular item occurs after the staff's presentation.

YUP ... you heard that right.
Public testimony is scattered throughout the meeting.

Staff gets its say on an item and then comes the public testimony on that item. Then the Board comments or votes.

OH MY that might make it too hard for the Board to ignore public testimony.

Anonymous said...

I like that Dan. I get tired of hearing staff LIE to the board, then I can't correct them until AFTER the meeting is done.

pissed

Anonymous said...

@ Dan:

LOVE IT.

-critical-

Charlie Mas said...

Every single person who runs for the Board says that they want to improve the Board's communication with the public.

Every single person who is on the Board says that they want to fix the Board's epic failure at community engagement.

Yet, magically, none of them ever make anything better. Instead, all they do is say that public testimony, their only community engagement, doesn't work, and then they reduce it.

Don't take away the ferry service until after the bridge is built.

The Board reduces public testimony saying that they need to do something else, but they never bring in the something else.