Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Notes from Board Work Session, 2/26/07

The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes. Please follow-up for official minutes upon approval. For copies of printed reports presented visit BoardDocs.

Public Forum

Board Meeting Times

  • Wise - General public agrees to time change according to the survey
  • Pederson - Concurs. Requests staff input
  • Discussion by all. Wade asks for suggestions
  • Abell - Consider moving recognition to another night; work session nights. Public interested in recognition, and public forum and forum needs to be before action items. Makes for a late night.
  • Wise - 4- Executive Session; 5 Recognition; 6 Dinner; 7 Public Forum
  • Balides - Cut out staff reports and get them weekly in updates
  • Bailey - 4:30 Employee Recognition; 5:00 Student Recognition; 5:30 Executive Session; 6:30 Public Forum and remainder of meeting
  • Abell - according to the survey people don’t know about the meetings; possible to use the new phone/email system to notify them.

* Vote - Pederson motioned and seconded by Cook to adopt a new meeting time beginning in the month of April and continue until January 2008 in which time we will revisit. The agenda will be as follows: 4:30 Employee Recognition; 5:00 Student Recognition; 5:30 Executive Session; 6:30 Public Forum and remainder of meeting. In addition, electronic phone calls to households having children in the system will be made as a reminder of the meetings.

Policy Amendments

  • Cook - public not happy with the delay in getting the minutes. Suggests Draft minutes
  • Pederson - Concurs. Should be available in one week
  • Discussion by all.
  • Abell - asked for consideration of her policy revisions, especially those in Policy 9338.3 involving Board member access to closed session minutes. Cited numerous legal cases including those in the Open Meetings Compliance Act. Concern that a majority of the Board withholding minutes from one member could lead to a lawsuit.
  • Schwartz - Agreed we are always open for a lawsuit about anything but doesn’t believe the member would win the case because the Annotated Code of Maryland protects us.

* Mr. Schwartz Policy Amendments will move forward next month as an action item.

Unfinished Business

New Business

  • Richmond - spoke about combining technology for Commissioners and Board of Education. Shock to him. Discussed with Cooper years ago, briefly. Does not agree with hiring an outside consultant, too premature. Discuss with them at retreat
  • Richmond - suggests additional agenda items for retreat with Commissioners.
    Capital Improvement Program
    Renovation of Existing Facilities
    Budgets - Operational Budget for five years out
  • Cook - Resolutions previously removed. Wants reinstated. Emergency vote since some occur in March

* Vote - Pederson motioned and seconded by Cook to reinstate the following resolutions: Womens History Month; Fine and Performing Arts; Professional Secretaries Week.
Yes - Bailey; Carrington, Cook, Pederson, Wade; Wise
No - Abell

  • Wade - recommends we have the retreat with the Commissioners in the county
  • Richmond - Offers the Boardroom
  • Pederson - suggests neutral ground
  • Wade - will suggests to the Commissioners on Friday during his meeting with them
  • Abell - Discuss 08/09 Calendar
  • Hettel - Currently getting input from various groups and will present at the next Board meeting.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rundown! :)

Jennifer Abell said...

You're quite welcome. And did you notice...now you will be able to receive official DRAFT minutes within 7 days of the meeting.

Jennifer Abell said...

BTW - That's thanks to Pedersen and Cook for motioning that action.

LegalBeaglette said...

Actually, no, I didn’t notice that draft minutes would be available from reading your notes. They say only that Cook and Pederson, and then the board, discussed it. The local press has written about it, and you’ve mentioned it in your comment, so I assume this is so. When will it start? [No draft minutes for the work session were posted when I checked early this morning] Where will they be posted? In BoardDocs? On the CCPS start page? Where? Since you’re pretty good with your notes, I’m wondering what the formal action was to do this – just general "please post draft minutes within 7 days" to the school system?

I think what makes this so bizarre for me is – if it was so difficult to post approved minutes, why the sudden assumption that the school system is going to readily post draft minutes? And what will happen with the approved minutes? Will we still have to wait until whenever for them to materialize?

I’m not trying to be critical. I’m just confused.

Jennifer Abell said...

You are correct. No FORMAL action. I asked Chairman Wade if he needed a motion and he stated that it wasn't necessary, and staff is aware of our direction. The direction was for the DRAFT minutes to be posted and available the public within seven business days. I confirmed with the Board secretary this morning and they will be posted tomorrow. The seventh day.

The APPROVED minutes still have to go through the process of being approved at a public meeting and therefore will take a month for approval then more than likely the seven business days for posting.

LegalBeaglette said...

Ah, seven WORKING days, not just seven days. Very generous of the Board...

By the way, there are two items in your notes that bother me.

The first one is the suggestion by Balides that staff reports get moved out of the agenda, and provided to you in weekly updates. NO! Those reports are as much for the public as they are for the Board members, and those of us who follow Board work follow those reports, whether we get them from attending the meetings or accessing them online. I hope the Board didn’t agree to dump reports from the public sessions!

The second one is that bit about executive session minutes. I am a lot less concerned about the possibility of a lawsuit than I am about whether the Board members know all they need to know about the school system. I heard “transparency” so many times during the election, and I know people relied on that when they cast their votes. For me, that means I expect everyone who has a vote has a clue. I don’t want Board members making decisions about things just because they want to ride with the flow.