Thursday, August 10, 2006

BOE Meeting 08-08-06

Just a couple of comments about Tuesday's BOE meeting.

1. Public participation included a 3 minute commercial for MNEA by their president Jamye Merritt. I'm all for public comment. But I don't think we have any obligation to provide this union a public platform to puff their organization. Had she come with a specific issue that needed to be dealt with it would have been another matter but such wasn't the case. It was quite general and in light of the fact we were meeting with them the next day came off as merely a chance to get before the public.

2. Parent Bernie Driscoll expressed the frustration that many parents are feeling at this time of year. He charged that the magnet school list had been closed in violation of policy and wanted people held accountable and sought redress. That same day the Duncan family had filed a formal complaint of their own regarding a similar issue and board members testified that these issues come up every year.

I had to wait until the end of the agenda before I could I move that

1. the board instruct Dr. Garcia to investigate
2. if it was true that the policy had been violated that the violator receive a reprimand in their personnel file and
3. that the list be reopened for 30 days in an attempt to repair the damage.
Unfortunately Mr. Driscoll didn't hear any of that as he had had enough, loudly expressed his displeasure with the process and stormed out. He apologized by e-mail the next day and I believe he was very sincere in regretting his display. But I don't fault him in the least.

If we're consistently having these problems we're consistently not fixing the problem. The process needs to be more accountable, more transparent, needs to happen earlier in the year (as Ms. Nevill suggested) and we cannot just assume that parents know how all this works. And certainly not having a chance to let the office know they hadn't gotten a letter with a critical date on it is a huge failure that must be addressed if MNPS intends to earn back trust in the magnet lottery system.

3. Also on the agenda was the approval of the Governance Process (GP's). These are rules the board members have committed to follow. I pulled this from the consent agenda expressly for the purpose of getting a roll call vote on GP-3-10 which said:
Facilitating timely and efficient communications with the administration and constituents by offering to each Board member the use of a district provided laptop or a residential fax line with fax machine.
There was a bit of back and forth. Ms. Warden was still concerned for those community members that may not have the financial resources to obtain these tools on their own and ensuring some equity with the Metro Council members. The result was that at Mr. Kindall's motion the board voted to remove the paragraph above entirely and left it to the next board to vote on it if they choose. Mr. Blue, Ms. Nevill and I voted no on that motion but being in the minority the motion carried and it was deleted from the Governance Process policy. The provision of these items was never included in the GP's heretofore and so I suppose the status quo could continue without any board vote at all.

4. Dr. Garcia reminded us that the work on Cane Ridge High in Antioch (and other important work) would be delayed because of the Council delay in approving the capitol budget. The last I heard that vote was to take place this coming Tuesday. It's my understanding that the Council isn't quibbling about the MNPS budget but other things. But MNPS must still wait on that budget approval before needed repairs and construction can continue. I consider this a poor excuse. We've got to back this process up a good bit in order to ensure a timely flow of maintenance and building. Budget squabbles are not new. They happen every year. MNPS must plan far enough in advance that we're not at the mercy of the process.

5. The Committee to Evaluate the Director, headed by Mr. Kindall, provided the following timeline for the evaulation of Dr. Garcia this fall.

8/8/06: Board Votes on the evaluation method and approval to retain TSBA's services for the evaluation

9/26/06: Ends Monitoring for E-2--Academic Achievement Completed. [As explanation: each month specific portions of Dr. Garcia's job performance are evaluated and graded by board members. One of those items monitored is academic achievement and that will be the final part of the year long process.]

9/29/06: Dr. Garcia responds with an executive summary on the status of accomplishment on the Strategic Plan and goals for the past year.

10/3/06: Board members return their annual summative evaluation forms to Tammy Gissom of TSBA.

10/17/06: The Committee to Evaluate the Director will meet to review results of the director's evaluation.

10/24/06: At this BOE meeting the evaluation of Dr. Garcia will occur. [Actually this date wasn't mentioned it was stated that this would occur the Tuesday following 10/17/06.]

11/7/06: Committee to Evaluate the Director will draft the instrument ot be used for the 2006-07 evaluation.

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