Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lewiston School Committee

Writing a letter was my comfort zone.  It was a way to gather my thoughts and conduct the necessary research.  Then, I was able to share everything by letter, blog, and FB without interruption.

I have gotten a few responses to my letter, but no invitations for discussion yet.

So, I am gearing up for my next step: Attending a school committee meeting to comment during the public input period on the agenda.

In preparation, I researched my school committee including policy and procedures. 

I just scanned all the 2013-14 school year school committee agendas and minutes.  For every meeting that was not a workshop or executive session (private), I planned to read the public comments.  In 19 sessions with published minutes (the last session of the year's minutes won't be published until the next meeting acts to do so), there were exactly three comments made.  They discussed filling positions and money.  In a whole academic year, there was not one comment on academics.  I went to the minutes to seek information on how long I would have to speak and what sort of comments are frequently made.  I learned that in 17 out of 19 sessions, no comments were made by the public at all.

Why is the school board not being utilized as a way to share one's voice publicly?  Is my community this uninvolved?  This uninformed? 

I feel some measure of guilt for having only attended one school committee meeting in my life time.  This was to show support for salary negotiations during my last year of teaching.  The committee spent almost the whole session in executive session (rumor was over discussion to expel two students) and I remember reading the book Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.  I've never attended for my own city, but I never thought to until now as it wasn't until this last year that I had any children in the school system.