Monday, June 1, 2015

Bridgeport School Board Personnel Committee Meeting June 1st, 2015

Discussed at today's meeting:
- There were two agenda's presented for today's meeting, that discussion starts at the very beginning of the meeting.
- Discussion about the meetings being posted on YouTube begins at 0:55
- Staffing 2015-2016 begins at 4:33
- Administrator Salary Equity begins at 15:37
- Athletics Staffing and Program Issues begins at 20:05
- Discussion about the Interview Committee, Current Jobs That Haven't Been Filled, Resignations/Retirements, Part-Time Groundskeeper, begins at 27:25
- Expulsions begins at 31:09
- Interim Superintendent Plans/Commitment begins at 34:04
- Discussion on Legal Updates, The School Bell, Board Review Of Staff Evaluations, Miscellaneous, begins at 50:59

School Board President and Personnel Committee member Jay Bruns was not able to attend this morning's meeting so Vice President Pat Nelson took his place in the meeting.
It was a interesting and enlightening meeting.  At the beginning of the meeting they discussed these meetings being posted on YouTube.  Martha Sageman said she contacted "Brad" concerning the matter.  I am assuming she meant one of the legal staff members at the Michigan Association of School Boards.  By law I have the right to video tape and post these meetings for the public to see.  Some people may not like it but I will continue to do so whenever I am able to.
By law notice must be posted prior to the regular board meetings taking place. The school board does post a schedule of planned meetings.  In the past if someone wanted to be notified of any special board meetings or the committee meetings that will be held, they could request in writing to be notified of these by email.  There was no notice sent out that this mornings meeting would be held.  They have a legal opinion from the Michigan Association of School Boards that states that no notice need be posted for committee meetings nor be sent to anyone requesting to be notified.  They may have the legal right to not give any notice of the committee meetings to members of the public, but is that really a wise decision?
The committee meetings are open to the public, but by now choosing to no longer notify the public that the meetings will take place, it appears that they are trying to deny access to these meetings to the public.  Is there a large amount of labor or costs involved in posting a one page notice at the high school or in sending out a few emails to notify the public of these committee meetings?  What is to be gained by keeping the public in the dark about any committee meetings?  Again I say it appears that they are trying to deny access to the public to these committee meetings.  It may be legal, but I feel it is a violation of the spirit of the law of the Open Meetings Act.
Operating in the shadows is never a good idea for any public entity.  Openness and Transparency, Building Communication and Trust with the public should be high on the list of priorities for any public entity such as a school board.
The discussion of the Interim Superintendent Plans/Commitment was enlightening.  Dempsey Allen and Pat Nelson voted to support Carol Selby as the Interim Superintendent until the school district is out of deficit and priority school status.  There were some excellent points brought up for keeping Mrs. Selby on as the Interim Superintendent.  Martha Sageman abstained from voting on this matter.  When she was asked as to why she would not support Carol Selby as the Interim Superintendent, she refused to comment stating that she did not want her comments to end up on YouTube.
If a board member feels that their comments cannot be shared with the public, they are unwilling to take action, or they are not willing to face public scrutiny for their comments or actions, then they do not belong on the school board.
In discussion of any future search for a new Superintendent, it was mentioned that with the school being in a deficit status and priority schools status, and with all the publicity that was brought upon the school district because of the trouble with Mr. Hill, that it would be hard to attract a qualified candidate for the position.  Even after they get out of deficit and priority status it may be hard to attract a qualified candidate when all they have to do is go to Google and find past articles like this - Bridgeport School Board Member Steps Down In Protest
The trouble with the school board has been a long standing problem.  I have hope for the future of this board and the school district, but there are still a few problems that seem to linger on and on.

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