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Boardwatch: Notes from the September 24 School Board Meeting

September 26, 2012

As always, here are my notes from the meeting.  This meeting was a bit tense and so my notes may be sketchier than normal, but I have tried to represent what is spoken without omission or addition that would change the nature of the discussion.

1. Call to Order, 7:00 p.m.

1.1.    Roll Call

1.2.    Pledge of Allegiance

Additional agenda item

I am State Representative [Rudy Hobbs] a member of the the education committee to talk about some of the things that we have been working on lately, Senate Bill 618 and 619 allowing expansions of charter schools regardless of quality.  I’m a former school board member and teacher and understand how our decisions affect you.  My staff wrote talking points about how school boards and school districts are under siege, but I said that we do not need to tell school boards that.  Among those was bill 620, the parent trigger bill, would allow parents of persistently low-achieving schools, the bottom 5%, parents are notified that they can turn that school into a charter school.  This will probably be taken up during the lame duck session.  Right now on this I am a “no”.  I try to make things about good schools and bad schools.  How do we ensure that the best charter school possible takes over the school, not another bad charter school.  How do we allow parents to vote on this, to decide this.  House Bill 5923 introduced by a representative from Grand Rapids, which would “offer more choice” but the details are unclear.  It opens up a portion of the school act and says that new forms of schools can be authorized if they have expressed the role of the following, “globally competitive school, municipality-authorized schools, corporation-authorized schools, international schools with cooperation with other nations, a “teacher-run” school.  If a corporation decides to sponsor a school, let’s say Lear Corporation, sponsors a school that is heavy on STEM, do they get school aid dollars.  There is a lot going on about education.

[Warnick] It is always fun.

[Kerr-Mueller] When/how should voters contact their representative

[Hobbs]  Google House Bill HB 5923 and you can take a look at the bill.  The summary is not available yet.  The representative for Ferndale is Ellen Cogen-Lipton.  Or call me: 517-373-1788.

[Warnick] Another part of the trigger is that the school district has to rent the facility to the charter for $1, and the schools get full FTE.

[Moeser] Is it true that we could not recoup our operating expensese.

[Hobbs] The school district could—by the intent of the legislator—be the authorizer of the school.  There are some things that schools are required to do: all new staff, etc.  We want to give an option to parents.  They do this in California but they have yet to do any.

[McLaughlin] You say “a parent” but is it just one parent?

[Hobbs] It is 60% of the parent, and a potentially a part of the teachers.  There could be an education management organization that could help parents to do this.  The good news is that the last day of session is on Thursday so there are no committee days so little opportunity for anybody to do any damage, but I will encourage people watching this to give representatives a call.

[Pfleger] Just a comment as I do any time anybody from the state comes in, I just want to point out that the state has changed its fiscal year so that it is out of sync with schools so that we are always in debt from the beginning.

[Hobbs] This is a good time to do it.  You don’t get the money until when, October.  When schools fund balance is being drained, schools face that problem.

[Warnick] Anything on the personal property tax.

[Hobbs] To be honest with you I hear that they are going to bring that up in lame duck also, but I have not received any details on that.  I’m not sure what that means for Ferndale, but for Southfield, that is a big hit, $800k for the schools, $7 million for Southfield.  It may not be an initial hit, because they may put some money in there to compensate, but it will be a long-term hit.

[Warnick] Always nice to see you, thanks a lot.

1.3          District Architect Bill Weinrock of TMP.  I am here to talk about the 2012 Bond Projects.

They are completing the punchlist and we withhold the funds until the punchlist is complete:

  • Next project is guardrails in the High School and the Admin
  • The High School was not finished when schools started session and they have gotten it pretty well complete.
  • Jefferson Center, the ceilings are complete.  Punchlist has been issued.
  • Bus garage roof is complete.
  • Waterproofing project, will be finished this week.
  • Roosevelt stonework.  That is in the same condition.  We ran into some wall conditions that we were not comfortable with.  They will be back working weekends so they will not disrupt school.  They will be pulling stone off the building and putting it back.
  • Roosevelt floor.  This ran into a delivery delay which caused issues and it was determined that there were issues with it being applied to plywood.  The manufacturers determined that the underlayment was not installed correctly according to the manufacturer.  The contractor tried to cut corners and it did not work.  The manufacturer has given direction (was on site) and the contractor will be providing an appropriate underlayment.  We have been taking step that the contractor and manufacturer are both involved in the process.  The flooring and the subfloor will be approved by the manufacturer.  The manufacturer guarantees a successful project.  The have worked out all the issues but we are looking at a 2 week delay for the project.
  • Roosevelt toilet rooms are finished successfully.
  • Kennedy school bathroom has punchlist problems because of a wrong-sized mirror
  • High School bathrooms, we are working diligently to get those complete because of subcontractor issues which have forced them to start working at night, but they have been installed incorrectly.  The north toilets will be complete before the dance this weekend.  We will be working on the south set to make sure that the same mistakes are not made (and same subcontractors) and those toilets will remain closed until then.

[Pfleger] I’ve seen the north toilet room and chatting with them and it seems like the people you’ve got there now really know what they’re doing, but it is really disappointing.  Hopefully for the next set of projects.  Unfortunately for the district, the project fell apart about 2 weeks before the school year started.  In the scrambling to complete because of ceramic tile problems, things were mounted incorrectly.  In the end I believe that the construction will meet everybody’s standards.

[Warnick] I made my annual vision to the high school with Lisa.  What is installed really looks nice but the wrong things in the wrong spot.  Hopefully we can get it done as you said by the dance this weekend.

  • The future work the 2013 Summer work is currently in the design phase.  We are taking all of the projects and creating one large bidding process that we can sit with the principals, administrators and stakeholders.  Our intention is to have those meetings take place in October and November so that the bidding can take place in January and February.  George Auck is involved and will be doing the specifics.  Also next summer will be kitchens at Roosevelt and University High School.  More definitive schedules and timelines will go to Gary Meier.
  • [Meier] I think he covered it very well.  The Roosevelt and High School projects have been problematic and I want thank bill and our counsel John Carlson for moving our contractor on this.  I think it is better to get it right than just to get it done.  As problematic as that may be from an aesthetic perspective at Roosevelt and an operations perspective at the high school, I think everybody will be satisfied.

Presenters

Nick Zajas, Ferndale Educational Association

  • First of all, I would like to thank the board for rehiring all of the core program teachers.  But 13 of our alternative education teachers were not hired back, 5 of whom were tenured teachers.  Our teachers are beginning to be excited about data teams.  Working with the staff about the Digital Learning Center, it is a breath of fresh air.  Students seem to be very receptive, the staff and director are just phenomenal at this point.  It is fun, and labor intensive.  It is very rewarding.  Thank you to the board for taking the initiative.

Ferndale Student Representatives

  • Alexis Thompson from UHS.  It is great to be back in school.  My senior year is here.    Last week we had our welcome back week for Freshmen and Sophomores.  We had a pizza sale and watermelon eating contest.  We have a series of activities: Automotive, robotics, girls web design, college night.
  • Shannon Santos, Ferndale High School.  I am a senior at Ferndale School.  We have school improvement Mondays like every other school in the district.  We just started our fall play last week.  It is called Bus Stop, but I can’t wait to go see it.  At curriculum night, 120 families were attended and 16% of students.  Spirit week is this week and the Homecoming will be on Saturday.  Football game is Friday and we play Royal Oak.
  • [Warnick: for years I’ve been wanting the theater group to do Tommy.

Karen McElgun

  • 550 W. Maplehurst.  I have a son in the middle school, 8th grade and a daughter at Kennedy and I wanted to talk to you about the perception of our school district in our community and our neighboring communities.  I am sure that a lot of us Ferndale parents have to justify why we have our children going here.  I have had a close relative ask where and when I said Ferndale, say “you’re wasting your child” and it wasn’t just him.  People in other suburbs don’t get asked this in Rochester and Gross Pointe.  At a Well-Child checkup with is doctor, the doctor asked how school was going.  My child said he was not being child.  The doctor asked “why aren’t you sending him to Berkley”.  I was shocked and said that Berkley offered us nothing that Ferndale doesn’t. She then suggested Birmingham, Liggett and she continued that there were scholarships available.  This all happened at a time when I had a neighbor they emptied their stuff out of their house and moved to Grosse Pointe.  On my street 4 families have moved and we cannot afford this perception.

Erika Pratt

[Pratt]I’m Erika Pratt, I live at…

[Warnick]Hold on, I need a topic

[Pratt] Follow-up.

[Warnick]Follow up on what? On a previous discussion?

[Pratt]I’m a homeowner in the district.  I’ve rented out my house and moved to another district and I just wanted to offer some thoughts about the district].

[Warnick] OK, we have other business to conduct and we will reserve time for your comments at the end of the meeting if there is time.

[Pratt] Am I being told I cannot speak because I did not get my paper in on time.

[Warnick] Sit down and wait.

[Here my notes break down.  The whole exchange was the previous exchange and so I did not make accurate measures of the next 10 minutes or so]

5. Communications, Stephanie Hall

[Hall] We are coming to the end of the …

  • We are all participating in the entire district’s expo for Metro Parent Magazine
  • Our marketing program for the Digital High School are continuing up to count day.
  • We have stepped up our on-ground marketing for the DLC to recruit students who might not be in school yet.
  • It feels like we’re finally into a close there.
  • The district newsletter has changed.  We have been focusing on how parents can
  • Zangle is now called MyStar.  They can pay for their lunches in Advance.  There is also a button called Pay Schools
  • Enrollment at Jefferson Center which his now exclusively for adults.  The atmosphere has changed there and they really enjoy the new
  • The Career Center saw 2800 customers which is last than last month and last year but

6. Deputy Superintendent’s Report, Henry Gold

  • Discussion of appointments to committees
  • The Personnel committee was advised of two resignations.  And that three teachers will be earning tenure during the month of October:  Matt Malone, math teacher at the middle school, Amanda Miller, elementary teacher at Roosevelt, and Kiata Watts who works in the preschool program at Grant
  • The committee was updated about legislative …
  • Amy Crandall who is our Human Resources Manager has been selected to serve on the executive board of the Oakland Association of School Personnel Administrators.  It is an honor to be selected to this and I wanted the board to be aware of the honor.

Attachment C is an email from AFSCME detailing agreement the 2012-2015 school years

  • Motion: Pfleger, Second: McLaughlin.  Motion passes unanimously

Approval of resignation of two teachers

  • Motion: [Didn’t catch this]
  • [Pfleger] It is nice to see that though people are moving on that they are saying nice things about teachers and staff and not leaving because they do not like it here.
  • Motion passes unanimously

Approval of motion to approve academic case managers

  • Motion: Moeser, Second: McLaughlin, Motion passes unanimously

Approval of motion to approve 13 new teachers in K-12.  Interviewed by team of teachers and or myself and the superintendent

  • Motion: Kerr-Mueller, Second: Pfleger
  • [Warnick about 1/3 are from Roosevelt.  There has been quite a bit of turnover there for personal reasons.  And there have been some additions there]
  • Motion passes unanimously

7. Curriculum and Instruction report, Barb Evoe

  • We are enrolling our Little Eagles.  We moved it
  • Renee Heard.  I would just like to talk about the progress of the Digital Learning Center.  I appreciate the board coming through on the walkthrough.
    • We have hired a significant number of staff.  They are passionate individuals working hard to build relationships with our students and figuring out what makes students tick.  It has been great to see them build the school that they are part of.  During the first two weeks that they are tired, they were given intensive training on technology, a module called DLC101, they have created their own school culture.  We have commented on how different the school feels, how positive the environment.  Staff are getting training between 4 and 6.  Staff are teaching one another.  One of the great things is how we have rethought the role of teacher.  We have successfully established partnerships with Gleaners, Small Trasures, Substance Abuse support and the Career center.  And we have those who have recommended our program and the 1-1 personal attention.  We have a 2-day intensive orientation, looking at their own transcripts and creating their own plans.
    • Right now all of them are participating in DLC 101 which is teaching students how to be successful in our program, a powerpoint for the Acronym PRIDE.  They are doing work on Publisher, working on Microsoft Word, and for some young people who don’t even know how to save a file, they are getting everything they need.  We are continuing to enroll students focusing on creating a positive learning environment.  There are many homebound students that we are not capable of offering services to.  We as a district are now able to provide services to a variety of students.  I am extremely proud of my staff and our collaborations.  It could not have resulted in what it did without them. Of all the schools I’ve started, this is one of the smoothest starts.  We appreciate your support and it has gone incredibly well.
    • [Warnick] As things progress, are you thinking about more opportunities down the road.
    • [Heard] We have formed a committee called DLC version 2.0 to look at the next version of the program.  What does it mean for a student to take community college classes, vocation and interest-based learning.  Innovative certifications and credentials that would allow students to have family-sustaining wages while they are finishing the program.
    • [Warnick] There are a lot of potential video learning offerings?  Are we melding any outside
    • [Heard]  The academic case managers have created only one module, DLC 101.   But others contain significant online modules and simulations.
    • Professional development was a big focus this summer.  We trained everybody on data teams. We spent two days training everybody.  We provided more than 20 hours of training for administrators.  Before administrators lead data teams, we work with them to review what they will do in their data teams.  We have focused priorities for the teams.  We are using common core so it is another.  People think that these are big standardized tests but they are not.  They are small-scale in-class assessments.   We are doing end-goal oriented design, so-called backward design.  With our second graders we are working on understanding the author’s purpose.  Our next step will be standardizing the scoring and calibrating, understanding what is good enough.

[Pfleger] Given that JFK is a focus school, are you seeing any differences.

[Evoe] Right now, no but as we move forward it will.  JFK overall, because it is a focus school.  The data teams mean that we could not have been better positioned at dealing with these questions.

We worked with administrators on state accountability system.

We did have a reward school, Ferndale High School, because their growth in performance rate:  1) percent proficient, 2) growth, 3) gap between highest achieving and lowest, then those are put together for a score, and in that sense it was in the top 5%.  They have had four years of consistent growth in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies.  That is one of the reasons they are in the top 5%.  They are bringing all students along.  They are bringing all students.  The purpose of doing that was they can focus on what.

[Warnick] Aren’t there only 12 reward schools in all of Oakland county?

We continued to implement the common core.  We are part of the Oakland county writing team…  Once we are done, we will be bringing them to the board.

School Improvement. We brought to the program and technology committee our plans.  The principals were present and they highlighted their own plans.  Renee was present and she highlighted the process.  We did that because this year we want everyone to know where the grant funding is going.  Roosevelt will have a math coach….  These are all Title 1 funded initiatives to increase student achievements.

[McLaughlin] Do we ever offer and tape our professional development for teachers to take advantage of later]

[Evoe] Part of the benefit is the richness of the conversation.  But that is certainly something we can think about.  We had a conversation about all three plans.  There was a discussion about the climate of the middle school.  After a nice discussion it was concluded that the committee could support the plan.  But these will be updated over the course of the year.  I’ve talked to Ms. Warren and she will be doing an monthly newsletter by email and text.  She reports they had a fabulous kickoff.

[Warnick] I also visited the middle school too.  She was pretty excited about the middle schools and that some issues they had last year have gone away.

[Twomey] I would like to move item 7.3

[McLaughlin] What is the nature of the problem.

[Kerr-Mueller] I second

[McLaughlin] What is the issue

[Twomey] Since the thing has already been approved.

[McLaughlin] We do the same thing for resignation

[Twomey] Are the timelines giving the committee members the opportunity for authentic discussion.

[McLaughlin] Is it uploaded and final?

[Evoe] Karen is right.  They were not final.  They were uploaded but not due.  School improvement no longer stands alone.  We used to be able to write the school improvement plan without accounting for every grant dollar.  We did not used to have to account for that.  The state gives us a tentative amount.  We start planning with the principals and doing another component that emerged last year which is a school data profile.  We gather teachers and administrators for the data profile, a 35 page document.  For the first time it linked to myschooldata.org.  We needed people to understand that, so we are getting that data piece, a rough allocation of our grant, so they are putting those pieces together and asking what are we using our funding for, to shore up our funding sources.  So we are trying to get all of these together.  For us to even think about considering our application, we have to have our plans drafted out.  Then we have to submit a compilation of that and we submit that.  And then we can still work on their school improvement plans once those are uploaded to the state.  That finite exchange of the grant with the work of the schools is new.  We did not have to be that precise.  This year we did upload them, but when we upload them, all we do is push a button to pull them back.  On one hand Karen is right about people not understanding that. The other thing is that Karen is right, you do not have to approve them.  Me being me, I wanted your support, to have you read them, support them and ask questions.

[Twomey] The issue was the financial ties?  Did this also go to the financial committee.

[Evoe] it is an educational decision.  Schools are obligated to complete the data. Schools have to find the strategies that they will use.

[Twomey] Like many other items, it is an informational item.

[McLaughlin]

[Moeser] There is a difference between approval of and support of.  It is nice for us to know about them.  I think these are very very important.  Why did they come from the committee to us in this form.

[Pfleger] We had a very spirited discussion about a number of items.  As a school board member, Karen, I would say I don’t do anything more than look at those plans.  This is the reason all of us are on the board.  How do we make sure that kids get a better education.  I still think this is a good thing to discuss them, have community improvement, discuss them, take that in put back and say “hey it’s a living document” and we can update it and say “we’re tweaking this.”  And we had that discussion about approval versus support, but at the end of the day I think we should vote in support, or if we are not we need to say that and send it back to Barb and the board, even though that is not required.

[Warnick] Just as with combination of programs at Kennedy because it was an administrative choice because we do support.

[Twomey] I agree with what you are saying, but when the conversation came that to “not support it” would be to “not support teachers.” Knowing all the work that the school has been doing, to just be able to support them and suggest additions, that is supportive.  It was made very clear that “people who do not vote yes are voting against teachers.”

[Meier] I think you are referring to the explanation that I had, probably not as well as I could, that the building improvement process is completed at the building level and that it includes not just teachers but also administrators and also parents.  When that plan is put together, what happens is in many districts, it is considered a collaborative effort and uploaded to the state.  From a financial perceptive, what we think of as finances as revenue in and expenses out.  My point to the committee is that what I was trying to say was that to withdraw the plan would not have demonstrated to that school improvement team the credibility of the work that they are assigned to do.  I clearly believe that the comments made at that meeting are statements that Barb and her staff have taken back and incorporate and will have an impact.  What I believed at that meeting and what I believe tonight is that it is important to give that credibility to the teams.  We could just provide those as information.  We have done it differently here.  We have asked the committee to provide information but not by virtue of lack of support to pull them back.  Regardless of that support, we have the obligation to submit that.  I want to make it clear that it has nothing to not supporting teachers but to supporting that process.

[Twomey] I am just not clear that this is role in here.

[Stroker] The actual resolution says support.

[Twomey] I am not opposed to supporting, but I thought it was worthy of support.

[Twomey] You will change the agenda?

[Stroker] It will have that in there.

Motion: Pfleger, Second: McLaughlin (support of each of the school improvement plans).  Motion passes unanimously.

8. Technology Services Report, Melissa Auchter

  • The first item I wanted to update you on was the laptops.  Most of the acms have their laptops; some of the students have them in the building.  We are still continuing to create the modules, we have them in varying states of approval.  We are still moving forward on that.  As part of the network updates and the bond updates, we are putting wireless in temporarily.  Our first phase, replace all network electronics, is complete.  We are excited about that, it has made our job easier.  We are moving to 10gb speed (currently at 1gb speed).  We can update the fiber in the High School because they are in the tunnels.  We will start working with administrators to get the wireless in.  I included a picture of one of our updates.  We took everything out of those and replaced it all.  At the same time we are also starting to work on scope of work for the projectors.  That will take a little more design.
  • We are also continuing to do the inventory for the city of Ferndale.  We put that aside to start school but we are working on it now.
  • We are working on a replacement for board recording options.  I presented options at the policy committee meeting.

[Twomey] for the sake of the audience, do you want to explain.

[Auchter] Some days it works and other days it doesn’t.  We had a couple of technical issues back there.  Our equipment is old.  We are looking to replace the mike and get rid of the tape, upgrade the camera.  Right now we can only broadcast over cable.  We want to i

[McLaughlin] What is the cost associated with the upgrade, $18-26,000.  Like all the other technology projects, we figure out what we need to have done.  When we have budget available.  Are we taking money away form a priority-thing to do this non-priority thing.  We are working on a solution that we can put in the budget.  It doesn’t change our plan.  It just changes the timing of the plan.

[Pfleger] Will you bring this to the technology committee meeting.

[Auchter] When we have a solution, that integrates the video and the pdf.

[Pfleger] I hear constantly half the voices are off camera all the time.

[Auchter] They are all analog.

9. Superintendent’s Report, Gary Meier

[Meier]: Just a quick review of policy committee meetings.  We had two special meetings, one on August 13 and another on August 27.  So I have listed the topics for discussion.  Melissa has already talked about the video, but the committee did also discuss narrowing the differences in scope so we can get an apples to apples comparison and references.   Since project innovations in particular does work with municipalities more than schools, we would like to get references from school board members for MASB and city council members for Project Innovations and consider next steps which could ultimately be a presentation to the full board, sooner rather than later.  We also had a discussion about superintendent evaluation and timelines.  We will address that at the next meeting.  We talked about policies related to bringing in your own devices and campaigning at board meetings.  Are there any questions about the policy meeting.

[Twomey] We just want to determine a list of questions and I would love nothing more than to have your questions for that before the next policy meeting.

[Warnick] It would not be appropriate for me to do it as well because I am on the board of MASB.

Operations Committee: we took a tour of all buildings.

[Pfleger] Would you ask people to stop taking pictures sideways.  It is hard to read.

The only action item is to approve committee charges, memberships, and so on.  The one item we ask the board to act on every year is to approve the committee charges for the coming year.  They are included in attachments C and F for this year and appointment by the chair of committee members.

Motion: [I missed this.]  Passed unanimously.

Appointment by the Board President of committee members

Moved: Pfleger, second: Twomey

[Pfleger] Thanks to community members.  It is great to have community involvement.

Passed unanimously.

10. Board Members Suggestions, Comments, Reports

  •  [Pfleger] I would like to move to extend the rules to allow Ms. Pratt extra time since she has been kind enough to wait.  Instead of three minutes,
  • [Warnick] (Reading from sheet) Feedback on items I tried to address and stress
  • [Pratt] I would like to thank the United States of America for the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.  It was a short and tumultuous time that I had with Ferndale schools.  I did a radio ad for you.  We have moved to a new district, and it confirmed the value and importance of the things I tried to bring to your attention.  There is something to be said for polite helpful staff in all aspects of the district.  I was critical of our entry into the district and discuss the fact that basic things that I never got when I was in the Ferndale school district.  Our new experience was so smooth and I just wanted to share that with you.  I also got a survey from the superintendent in the first week.  Small things like that.  It feels good to be in a district where I do not have to be a cranky-pants complainer.  I love Ferndale.  The district has a lot of distractions, looking for land, the contractual ICE business, alternative ed.  It doesn’t feel as if there was enough support coming to your principals.  I got the 5 big reasons for coming to the schools.  You are marketing and focusing on low-income families, you are giving people a lot of reason to .  You are going after Wayne County, you are going after non-residents.  We tried Little Eagles and were disappointed.  I encourage you to have courageous conversations about race, about socio-economic levels.  Diversity does not exist in some of the schools.  You obviously did not want to hear my comments.  It is discouraging.  I wish the Ferndale schools the best and I think it is time for a bold new direction.

[Collins]: I do not have any communications

[Kerr-Mueller]: I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Middle school.  It’s not so much an anti-bullying program as a pro-compassion program.  I have volunteered to set up an after-school program on this.

[Twomey]: I’m disheartened by what was expressed by Ms. Pratt.  That is not what we want for our district.  I am looking forward to the fall and all the fall events.

[Pfleger]: Bus Stop is the play.  It is a play about a diner/bus stop where people get stuck.  We are starting to look at set construction.  This is a student-led production.  They like as much help as they can get as well.  Marching band had their first competition.  They did very well and scored a 68, which is a good score for 1st time out.

[Warnick] Different flight from last year?

[Pfleger]: New schools have joined our flight who are solid players.

[McLaughlin]: Nothing

[Collins]:  I did the Roosevelt family fun day.  Good thing the floors weren’t finished because we were playing tug-of-war.  I attended the HS, MS PTA meeting. Ms. Warren spoke to what a great beginning of the year they were having.  They have a new system on phone use which makes it clear.  This Friday is homecoming.  Come on down and watch the game and the band will play at halftime.

[Warnick]: I just want to than Representatives Hobbs.  Secondly I took a visit to the high school.  We have seen a pretty good change in the climate.    I enjoyed visiting the schools.  I put a couple of things at the table.  Spirit of community awards.

MASB, public education believes in me.  We want to highlight graduates of public schools who have gone on to do amazing things.  The example from many years ago, Jim Blanchard, who went to our schools.

11. Future Board Meetings: October 15. 9:36 Adjourned.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 26, 2012 2:21 pm

    I try to reserve comments and put them outside the body of the text. Here I simply want to say that , like many, I was struck by the decision to defer Erika Pratt’s statement to the end of the meeting. What was especially striking to me was that it simply was not necessary. Neither the length of the meeting agenda nor the number of public comments (only one) was such that hearing an additional public comment would have caused a problem; nor is the filling out of a comment card necessary according to state law (or the card itself which says “if possible.” As I try to reconstruct what happened my guess is that the board president’s decision was made hastily and in frustration. I can understand that such things happen, especially in a tense electoral campaign during which levels of mutual antagonism are higher than usual. What is less understandable and less tolerable is a board culture that made such a decision possible and then did not allow the mistake to be caught and corrected as it was happening but rather allowed the problem to continue and to worsen. At the time of the chair’s decision there was no comment by any board member other than Nan Kerr-Mueller. The only other efforts to by board members to acknowledge the problem came in the form of Karen Twomey’s expression of disappointment, and the motion by Jim Pfleger to extend Erika’s time from three minutes to six, a gesture that would have been more appropriate earlier but that I appreciated nonetheless.

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