Friday, July 06, 2007

School board meeting attendance is mandatory

Please ask yourself a question.

Do I want to participate meaningfully in the decision making process in the APS?

The question is not rhetorical. No proof can be cited that supports your right to participate in the decision making process in the APS.

There is in fact, abundant evidence to the contrary;

  • Citizen advisory councils were unilaterally dissolved by School Board President Paula Maes; against the protests of members of those groups.
  • Principals are unilaterally assigned to schools in complete disregard of the right of school communities to participate in those decisions.
  • Public records are being hidden from public knowledge; in complete disregard for the requirements of the law.
  • There is no transparency in the administration of the APS. Taxpayers still have no honest accounting of the money spent at the Uptown administrative complex.
  • Board meetings are held at a time and in a place deliberately designed to discourage community participation. Board meetings used to be held in the evening after the workday. They used to be held in schools, where stakeholders had ready access.
  • The public forum has been eliminated from board meetings. The public forum used to allow three minutes to each speaker; they are now allowed only two. Their comments used to be part of the public record; now they are not. Their comments used to be part of the broadcast record of board meetings; now they are not. Broadcast records have been deliberately falsified in order to mislead constituents.
  • Enormous sums of money are being spent to spin the truth about the administration of the public interests in the public schools.

They is one path to restoring control of the APS, to the community.

First, there must be enough participation in board meetings to compel the meetings to be held at a time and place convenient to stakeholders.

And then attendance must be built. When the attendance at board meetings is sufficient; the board will be compelled to act in the public interest; they will be compelled to allow stakeholders to participate meaningfully in the decisions that affect them.

If there is another path, I cannot imagine it.

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