Tuesday, November 29, 2005

BOE Orientation

Tonight Superintendent Bruce Silva held an orientation meeting for all new Board of Education members. Principal Lou DeLoreto joined us as well.

Briefly, I asked about changing the system of weighed voting to one person - one vote. This census-based algorithm is dictated by State Statute not by the school board. Personally I find it insulting and although I've been reassured that weighed voting rarely swings a vote one way or another I think that it contributes to a degree of cynicism about local representation that is corrosive. I plan to speak to every state politician that will listen to eliminate this statute. Until this is changed, we'll have to hold our noses and live with it.

I asked about the possibility of increasing the number of student (non-voting) Board of Education members from one to three where one student from each town would be a representative. This is within the power of the Board and I'll work through the appropriate channels to have this added to a coming agenda.

I also asked about the possibility of holding at least one BOE meeting in Ashford and Willington. My feeling is that both towns deserve an opportunity to share real face time with the Board and to simply offer elderly and local citizens a good faith chance to participate. This is another candidate agenda item I will work to address.

I suggested that BOE agenda items allow for some public participation time. Today the public can only speak at the end of a meeting - something I found oppressive when attending as a public citizen. In a discussion, I learned that the BOE has NO true obligation to offer any public discussion time. The Region 19 Board almost always does but along the tradition lines of offering time at the end of the meeting. My thought is that we need to experiment a little with this over time.

Everything I've heard from both Bruce and Lou over the past four months leads me to believe that Region 19 is very well run and thoughtful and caring toward our kids. I want to make sure everyone hears that.

When I was running I listened to various complains and suburban legends about EO Smith and I'm still listening. I have every intention of reporting back to you in this blog the closest thing to truth I can find about these issues.

As many of you know, the issue of fair opportunity is much discussed. Today Bruce and Lou made it clear in no uncertain terms that every student in the building is just another individual. The town that student comes from has zero bearing on their treatment by teachers, coaches, administrators, and so on to the degree that something like that can be observed.

I believe them, the citizens from Ashford should consider this true and any tall story to the contrary just another tall story until you receive a memo stating otherwise.

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