Excluding Citizens Dedicated to Public Education

by Lisa Haver

Action Item 28 just added yesterday accepts $1.3 million from the Fund for the School District for something to do with public engagement. There are so many levels of irony here.

The Fund decides on these initiatives in private meetings that exclude the public from being part of a discussion on how the District will spend money on public schools. 

This Board’s role here is to rubber-stamp decisions made in the private meetings of the Fund. 

Why was this Item added the day before the meeting?  It’s not any kind of emergency funding—it’s the acceptance of a donation from its own fundraising arm.  Maybe the Board didn’t want people to realize that the same Board that has continued and expanded its speaker suppression is now paying an outside firm to embark on “a facilities planning and community engagement process.”    

At the same time, the Board has asked people not to come to a meeting but to apply to come to a special meeting for superintendent finalists. This is not a public meeting. It’s a private meeting with people approved by the Board in their own private selection process. The people invited to apply to come do not include members of the community. If they weren’t already running the meeting, the Board’s criteria for attending this meeting would actually exclude 6 of its own members who neither work for the District nor have children at its schools. The criteria would bar at least half of its own selection committee whose members neither work for the District nor have children attending its schools.  The head of the PFT, the Executive Director of Children First, the Director of PEF—just some of the people who the Board would deny admission to. 

The Board finds so many ways to exclude the people who are dedicated to supporting public education.