Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Notes from Board Work Session, 3/26/07

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 Board Docs.

Public Forum

  • None

Code of Conduct

  • Wade – Current Code of Conduct (Policy 8140) needs some teeth in it
  • Abell – suggests we wait to hear the committee’s recommendation that was formed at the MABE training. Some new board members are seeing this Policy for the first time
  • Schwartz - No way to punish a Board member except removal from the Board and only the State Superintendent can do this. The Board can publicly announce it’s disapproval of a Board members actions
  • Wise – Wants to add punishments to the current policy
  • Pedersen – highly offended with the delusional duck website and regrets being involved during the campaign
  • Pedersen – is there attendance requirements for members.
  • Schwartz – no state requirements
  • Pedersen – clarification on “abides by the majority decision of the Board”. Not going to the press after the decision is made and speak negatively.
  • Schwartz – advises the Board Chairman – another form of “punishment” could be “overlooking” a certain member during meetings and NOT calling on that member for comments.
  • Carrington – Board members should be careful of comments made outside of Board meetings
  • Pedersen – As a Board member are we gagged and should only work through the Chair
  • Carrington – Thinks members should approach members with concerns one on one not in publicly
  • Wise – Thinks the stuff that goes on in meetings should not be put on blogs
  • Pederson – Requests direction from Schwartz on what is legal and what is not
  • Schwartz – We can’t control what people say. First amendment rights trump our Code of Conduct Policy. But…you can advise members to play by the rules of the Board or suffer the consequences from the other members
  • Bailey – Points out that we all ran on “open and transparent” and how is this is any different than televising.
  • Wise – extremely unethical to post the announcement of the Chair and Vice-Chair prior to the meeting being over.
  • Wade – unethical to use laptop computers for personal use.
  • Abell – NSBA and NEA endorse Board members and Superintendents blogging
  • Carrington – All in all blogging is okay but be respectful.

CIP (packages and documents handed out)

  • Letter to Dr. Lever re: Craik Roof/ RTU Replacement S/R
  • CCPS School Construction Costs
  • Revised FY 2008 state & local Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
  • Use of Facilities by Outside Organizations
  • Supporting Services Organizational Chart
  • Capital Improvements Program FY 2008
  • Education Facilities Master Plan FY 2007
  • Comprehensive Maintenance Plan FY 2007

* Vote - Wise motioned and seconded by Bailey to support the Superintendent’s recommendation on the CIP.
Yes – Abell, Bailey; Carrington,, Pederson, Wade; Wise

2008-2009 School Calendar

  • Teachers off for election day but on for veterans day
  • Winter break 12/22 – 1/2
  • Spring break 4/6 – 4/13
  • End of year for students – 6/10 (no snow) 6/16 (4 snow days)

New Business

  • Pederson – Legislative Committee Issue – House Bill 326 – Changing the hiring practices for speech pathologists and audiologists requiring master degrees

* Vote - Pederson motioned and seconded by Wise to send a letter to the delegation opposing this bill
Yes – Abell, Bailey; Carrington, Pederson, Wade; Wise


  • Pederson – What Counts Forum dates and location. Suggests 4/30, 5/7, 5/9, or 5/10
  • Wise – Members without Bachelors or Masters degrees should have stoles not hoods for graduation ceremonies.


Heather Brooks said...

Keep blogging Jen - it's not always easy wading through the minutes and policies. Plus, I really like it when you blog about all-year schooling and uniforms, nutrition, etc.

I think that this blog is a great idea and I wish there was a board of ed group blog so I could read what all of the board members would like to post - I think it's a GREAT thing and if I were a board member I would STILL think it's a great thing and I really REALLY don't understand why some of them are looking at this as a problem instead of a wonderful tool - which is what it is.

Tony said...

I would love for someone to explain to me why blogging non-sensitive information about Board meetings is such a bad thing. Are Board meetings open to the public? Are they shown on cable access tv? Are their minutes made public record? Or could it be that some Board members don't really understand what a blog is?

Jennifer Abell said...

I can't understand it either. I cannot fathom why this is such heartburn for some people. Board meetings, at least the part I blog about, are in fact open to the public. They are currently NOT shown or televised (I've been pushing for that for two+ years, but should be happening in the next xcouple of years). Minutes are public record but it takes 7 business days for draft minutes to get posted and a full month for "approved" minutes to be posted. Even then it is difficult to navigate the Board Docs software and actually find the minutes you are looking for. All of the above is one reason I try to post my notes within two days of a meeting. I also want my supporters and the general public to know exactly where I stand on issues. It also is a vehicle for me to obtain their input.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts on this is those kicking up a fuss see blogging as a "threat" to them because they feel like people are talking about them.
Oh my gosh, get over it....like you would cross the line unprofessionally and if you did, well then, they could get ya'.
Blogging is harmless and it keeps those who want to stay informed and in touch just as that, informed and in touch. It's a great service you provide and for FREE! Maybe the rest of the Board should get on board...come on, it's 2007! Get high tech board members! It's not like you're hiding anything! They need to get over it and perhaps grow themselves technologically! Maybe their support base would then grow...hello???!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Those who don't understand, and fail to understand the "full picture" of a new and up to date creation/idea, usually are the ones who are quick to down things! Blogging is a sensational idea for the cause and we're very glad to have this avenue of communication. It IS harmless and yet extremely informative!! Prior to your blog sight, we were left in the dark regularly on what our school board discusses and provides to our students and staff. We now see the light more and it's because of progressive board members who aren't afraid of change. Thank you Mrs. Abell for "making it happen"!

Anonymous said...

The First Ammendment happens to be one of my favorites. You keep on blogging. Were it not for you I never would have found out about the chess grants. Official channels being cumbersome and slow as they are.

Jennifer Abell said...

Thanks for the support! I agree, sometimes the bigger sites are quite cumbersome and difficult to navigate. Please feel free to offer any suggestions for this site. I'm always open to new ideas.
BTW - Were you able to secure one of those chess grants?

Anonymous said...

I think freedom of speech and keeping School Board business transparent are two things strongly on your side.
I have found some minor problems with your blog that can easily be corrected and stop some of the criticism it has been receiving.
One problem that some people may have with your blog site is you are releasing official board information through an unofficial channel. The official business of the School Board is a matter of public record. The minutes from previous meetings are reviewed at School Board meetings to make sure they accurately reflect their business prior to making them part of the official record. This process takes way too long and finding the official minutes can be difficult.
You provide the public an excellent service by providing this information in a timely manner.
However, a lot of the information you post is not "official". All you need to do is say so, "Here are the Unofficial votes from last night's meeting..."
Also, some people who get information from your blog may view that information as the official School Board position due to you being a member on the Board.
All you need to do to fix this is just be clear when you are giving "your opinion" and when you are stating School Board policy.
There is nothing wrong with passing on information regarding the business of the School Board. There is a point though when you can provide too much information.
The public has a right to know what is going on, however, professional ethics and courtesies should limit the disclosure certain details of the Boards affairs.
It is great to be informed, but we don’t need to know the Boards dirty laundry.
I think blogs can be a very useful tool in communicating to the community. As with any new technology, it will take alittle time to make them fit into our world. Ironically, good communication is what we need to make it work.

Anonymous said...

Pederson said all board members are gagged and should work through the chair? Gagged? Is she for real? Gag me, I voted for her. I though she had more between the ears. Funny how her campaign promises so quickly disappeared once she started collecting a paycheck.

Wade wants a policy with "more teeth in it." This from a guy who lied about his campaign spending. "Less than a thousand dollars" Sure. All those full color ads in the Indy were close to if not over a grand themselves.

Refusing to call on you to speak. How petty. Wah, wah, wah. Just what are they discussing that can't be repeated publicly?

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous.
Mrs. Abell should come directly out of the meetings and post what the taxpayers should have the right to know, immediately.
Congratulations Jennifer! I think that you've served your voting block quite well, getting the board to meet after the parents have had the oppotunity to eat, clean up, and head over to the meetings.
I hope that parents will now actively participate in the meetings and let the public servants know exactly what their jobs are. I think that it will be better to hear first hand from the parents when they are frustrated with hideous policies, beginning with "two 45 minute visits" per quarter.