by Lynda Rubin
Eight of the nine Board members and the two student Board representatives were present. Leticia Egea-Hinton was absent. The meeting began with a beautiful performance by the Central High School String Quartet, with string specialist Matt Roberts, under the direction of Ben Blazer.
General Counsel Lynn Rauch announced that the Board met in executive session on October16 and October18 to discuss the following: “personnel and employment matters, purchase or lease of real property, investigations, quasi-judicial proceedings, privileged and confidential matters and information and strategy about litigations”. She then cited the legal matters by name and docket number.
Superintendent’s Report Addresses Community Concerns
Superintendent William Hite’s report indirectly addressed concerns about barriers to parental involvement raised prior to the meeting by email and phone call and reflected in the number of speakers on the issue. He encouraged parents to join SACs but did not directly address parents’ specific concerns until later in the meeting. There is some contradictory and confusing language on the District website that implies that parents and community members have to provide clearance information in order to attend meetings at their schools.
Dr. Hite also addressed the District’s solution to the lack of full-time nurses and substitute nurses. He stated that three of the four vacancies had been filled and that the District was now using Kelly Services, the same company the District contracted with two years ago when it outsourced substitute teacher services. Dr. Hite said that his administration intended to hire additional companies to find substitute nurses. In fact, Action Item 16, later passed by the Board, contracts with Bayada Services to fill per diem and long-term nursing substitutes. In response to strong lobbying by nurses and parents, the District will now give access to the medical information of the students they are serving on any day, whether permanently appointed to one school or not.
By Karel Kilimnik
Policy Committee Meeting Convenes for First Time
Policy Committee Chair Wayne Walker called the meeting to order. Also present were Committee members Julia Danzy, Lee Huang, and Chris McGinley. Board members (but not Policy Committee members) Mallory Fix Lopez, Angela Mc Iver, and Leticia Egea-Hinton sat with members of the public attending this first BOE Policy Committee Meeting. District staff in attendance included Chief of Staff Naomi Wyatt, serving as liaison to Superintendent Hite; Chief of Schools Shawn Bird; Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson; General Counsel Lynn Rauch; and Chief of Student Support Services Karyn Lynch.
The ten policies under consideration at this meeting were:
- 111: Lesson Plans
- 126 Class Size
- 230 Public Performance by Students
- 232 Student Voice
- 331 Expense Reimbursement
- 620 Fund Balance
- 703 School Cleanliness and Classroom Management
- 719 Art Collections
- 813 Other Insurance
- 828 Suspected Financial Misconduct and Dishonesty
To read the rest of the report click here.
by Karel Kilimnik
As the Board of Education continues threading its path through the thicket of District policies and funding challenges, we are witnessing several changes. There are now four Board Committees working to improve public participation: Finance and Facilities, Student Achievement and Support, Policy, and Community Engagement. Board members are certainly more friendly and welcoming toward the public than their predecessors on the SRC. In addition, several changes have been made on the Board’s website page, although there have been some glitches. APPS members have met with Board staff and explained how the new format can be more user-friendly, a banner at the top of the page noting the changes and a guide to navigating the site. We appreciate the Board staff meeting with us, noting our concerns, and their assurances that changes will be made. Presently, we have found that clicking on “Action Materials” on the Board page raises a screen with choices between “Online Agenda” or “Download Agenda”. Clicking on Online Agenda provides a document with active links. Selecting Download Agenda provides the list of Action Items followed by their descriptions . There are only 23 Action Items this month.
The true test of this Board, of course, will be how they vote. Will they continue to question District spending, especially the outsourcing of services and staff? Will Board members listen to stakeholder concerns and act on investigating them?
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