Making out tedious SB meetings available to all

There have been a few news articles about public education over the past couple of weeks in the Trib that I’ve not been inclined to remark on while focused on painting. This is not new news. It was reported on MPR last March.

This was one of the reasons a teacher who had fallen afoul of the Administration found themselves outside of our schools last year. I will remain oblique on this point lest I get another complaint from the Teacher’s Union but I should note the teacher’s union only saw fit to complain about me and not challenge the state’s mishandling of the aggrieved teacher. Talk about looking through a backwards binocular.

Ah, but yesterday we finally had a committee meeting again. I couldn’t paint. My garden rain gauge filled up with just shy of three inches of precipitation and I spent a dreary day doing laundry and reading science news stories on my cell phone. The meeting (meetings) were a three hour marathon. Our Human Resources and Business meetings were back to back. HR is always scheduled to conclude in fifteen minutes. That’s about how long they lasted years ago when I was on the School Board but since I returned they have often been longer, much longer. This one took over an hour with a long discussions having to do with our imminent superintendent evaluation. (This is the annual evaluation by the School Board) We also had a long chat about compensation for our lowly paid hourly workers. There was some feeling that these workers deserved more than the minimum wage.

The Business Committee meeting took closer to two hours. We heard about the small savings we will get if we renegotiate our insurance packages at next week’s board meeting. That will be a slam dunk. We also met our “new” Transporation Director, Mike Johnson, who has been on the job for a year. He has an impressive resume. I had commented last month that I’d like to have the managers of our various departments come and talk with us and this was the fruit of that request.

The last long discussion concerned a long standing request by Art and me to video record our committee meetings. The previous school board was not disposed to permit this but Alanna Oswald brought this up at our last meeting and at her request the Administration did a little research an concluded doing this would cost us only about $1,800.00 annually. Cost had been held up before this as the prohibitive factor but the discussion yesterday centered around transparency and logistics (which side of the room could our stationary cameras video) No one could come up with any deal breaker arguments against spending this nominal amount but its safe to say the only enthusiasm for the change came from Alanna, Art and me. None of us think many people will watch the meetings but that’s probably not the point. Making our actions viewable for public inspection if and when the need arises is the point.

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