UPDATE

Jeff Moquin, newly appointed Chief of Staff reports that the cost of administrators attending meetings throughout the year is $475,000.

The cost includes preparing for meetings, attending meetings and followup.

SO WHAT???

That’s what they get paid to do.

Part of the job of managing departments in any organization is the requirement to report to their superiors and follow directives.

There’s a simple choice here;

Those directives will still be coming from the Board and Superintendent.

They can either come in the sunshine or out of the sunshine.

$475,000 is a small price to pay to keep government open and transparent.

And doubling the number of meetings won’t double that cost (although it will raise it slightly.)

And worth every penny.

There are more than enough other places to cut fat from the budget.

Cutting public access to the Board isn’t one of them.

HERE’S THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

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Superintendent Bob Runcie this week proposed cutting the number of School Board meetings in half.

That’s one meeting per month and one workshop per month.

Not a good move no matter how you look at it.

First and foremost, it won’t save a penny.

Staff that must attend the meetings still have jobs to do even if they don’t attend a meeting.

They’ll still get paid unless the Superintendent is also proposing to give those staff members a day off without pay for each skipped meeting.

Nevins and Norman both think it’s about reducing exposure.  Maybe not, maybe so, but it’s still a bad idea.

The public needs more exposure from the Board and staff, not less.

Every public body is going to experience gadflies, and the School Board is no exception, meaning the bunker mentality won’t cut it.

There will always be individuals taking pot shots at their elected officials.

Goodbye Barney Schlessinger, hello Marty Jacobson.

It’s called freedom of speech.  Well, for at least three minutes anyway.

Mr. Runcie and the members of the Board should consider the idea of holding more meetings, not fewer.

Some city commissions and councils hold weekly meetings plus workshops and executive sessions.

It’s a way to shorten meetings through fewer items on the agenda.

But then again, maybe it won’t shorten the meetings at all.

To paraphrase John Adams on the Continental Congress;

Should a member propose a resolution stating that two plus two equal four, each member in turn would deliver speech after speech to show their expertise and opinion and finally take a vote in the affirmative after two days of debate.

I can certainly vouch for that during my own time on the School Board.

So even if smaller agendas won’t mean shorter meetings, it doesn’t matter.

It’s about transparency.

The Board and the district not only need more time in front of the taxpayers and parents, the also media needs to pay closer attention rather than sleep as they did through the debacles of the last decade.

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