During the March 18th Dist. 54 board meeting there was public outcry in regards to the placement of “Public Comment” on the board agenda.
During this meeting, a concerned parent tried to address the board prior to the board vote on the non-renewal of her child’s special education teacher (along with the non-renewal of 6 other teachers).
The parent was trying to let the board know how important her child’s teacher is to their family and to praise the teacher’s performance with her child.
After a few short sentences this parent was told this was not the time for “public comment” she would have an opportunity to speak later.
With this a second parent made a statement to the effect of; it doesn’t make sense that public comment follows the action items, how can we express our concerns if it’s already been voted on by the board? It’s already been decided.
Mrs. Cap spoke out about how she felt that the board has cut off the community and its stakeholders by putting the Public Comment at the end of the board meetings. She feels the message the board is sending to its stakeholders is they don’t care what the stakeholders have to say, or how they feel.
She stated the board took the community’s voice away the second they decided to place the Public Comment at the end of the agenda.
How can the board take into consideration any statements and/or comments from its stakeholders, after a vote has already been taken? It has then already become a done deal.
In the past, the placement given to the stakeholders for speaking has always been prior to not only the actions items, but also prior to the approval of past minutes, approval of bills and the reporting by the various administration and committees.
Furthermore, this agenda item used to be listed as “Recognition of Public – Intended to provide information for the Board to consider.”
Since September 2011, this item has not only been moved to the end of the agenda taking away the stakeholder’s voices, but it has also been chopped to “Public Comment” with no regard for consideration. At that time, the board was approached and asked why the agenda was changed and requested it be changed back to its original format, but to no avail.
The board’s response was that having the public comment at the end of the agenda does not delay their meeting. Is this what the stakeholders of District 54 expected when they voted for board members in the past elections?
We want to encourage everyone in District 54 who wishes to be heard to let District 54 “hear” your voice. If you are unhappy with things that are taking place within the district speak out and tell the administration how you feel.
We encourage you to attend monthly board meetings.
We also encourage you to speak out with your right to vote.
This opportunity will start next week, Monday, March 25, with early voting or as always, on Election Day April 9, 2013.