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Monday, June 13, 2011

Important!! June 13, 2011 Board Meeting PLEASE ATTEND!!!

The board packet for the June 13, 2011 meeting is 121 pages long, yet it was formatted to be too large (according to Dr. Rock's secretary) to be sent via email and had to be picked up at the district central office.  This is the second time this has happened in the last three meetings, yet it has never happened before that and I have received board packets via email for around a year and many were well over 200 pages long previously...

PLEASE COME TO THIS SCHOOL BOARD MEETING FOR MANY REASONS (see below).

This will be the last meeting before the board has a closed session on June 20th at 5 PM to discuss Dr. Rock's performance evaluation.

However, in addition to that, there are issues I have identified from what I have of the board packet for the 6/13/11 meeting.  They are (by order of importance):
  • Action item 5.5 - "Approval of Board Operating Procedures: Steve Hyer" (plan is to vote on the item)
This is composed of a Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Learner Profile previously discussed at board meetings and a total change of the Board Policies and Operating Procedures that was never discussed at board meetings or Policy Committee meetings previously.  In my opinion, it totally changes the board procedures allowing for the superintendent and the school board president to control much of what is currently vested in the entire board, to prevent/limit communication between school board members and the press or residents, and to limit the voice of the people in board meetings. 
Currently on the district website under board bylaws (although I don't believe this is the most recent version of the bylaws), "0140 Membership, 0144.2 Board Member Ethics", it says,
"As members of the Board of Education, Board members will strive to improve public education and to that end they will:
  • recognize that they should endeavor to make policy decisions only after full discussion at publicly held Board meetings;  
  • render all decisions based on the available facts and independent judgment, and refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups;
  • communicate to other Board members and the Superintendent expressions of public reaction to Board policies and school programs;
  • and encourage the free expression of opinion by all Board members, and seek systematic communications between the Board and students, staff, and all elements of the community;
  • avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest, and refrain from using their Board positions for personal partisan gain;"
However, in the new "Code of Ethics", it removes the "avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest", removes much of a board member's "free expression of opinion by all Board members and seek systematic communications between the Board and students, staff, and all elements of the community", and also appears to remove many responsibilities from the board and vest them in the superintendent.  There are many more changes, limiting the public's right to request a topic be put on the agenda, allowing the Board President to have the authority to terminate an individual's remarks if he/she decides if the individual's comments are "frivolous, repetitive, or harassing in nature".  THESE ARE VERY DANGEROUS CHANGES!  Come to the meeting and express your concern before this is voted upon and approved by the rubber stamp members of the school board.
  • Action item 5.1 - Approval of Personnel Changes: Anita Banach" (plan is to vote on the item)
  1. bringing back seven teachers and two part time clerks,
  2. a resignation of one employee and a deceased employee,
  3. and the hiring of three full time "behavior interventionalists" for each of the middle school, junior high, and high school and showing a reason of "Work with At-Risk students, Level 1 discipline, intervention strategies" to be funded from "Title I and general fund".  However, per the federal government's website, available here, Title I funds are supposed to be used for low income kids to:
"Title I is designed to help students served by the program to achieve proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards. Title I schools with percentages of low income students of at least 40 percent may use Title I funds, along with other Federal, State, and local funds, to operate a "schoolwide program" to upgrade the instructional program for the whole school. Title I schools with less than 40 percent low income students or that choose not to operate a schoolwide program offer a "targeted assistance program" in which the school identifies students who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the State's challenging academic achievement standards. Targeted assistance schools design, in consultation with parents, staff, and district staff, an instructional program to meet the needs of those students. Both schoolwide and targeted assistance programs must use instructional strategies based on scientifically based research and implement parental involvement activities. This means that Title I funds are supposed to be used to help low income students achieve academically with instructional strategies based on scientifically based research and implement parental involvement activities...  What does this have to do with "behavior interventionalists"?    
  • Action item 5.2 - "Approval of Project Lead the Way Program: Rod Rock"
    At the last board meeting, the superintendent was asking for approval for the "Project Lead the Way" program for an additional year due to the second (and probably final) year of grant funding from four different sources.  There were many questions and comments from board members, especially due to far superior engineering classes available at OakTech Center (from the Oakland County ISD), so the district was to get answers for the board members and bring the answers to the June 13th board meeting...  This time, the district is asking for PERMANENT approval for the program, although funding is expected to end after the end of fiscal year 2011/12.  At the last meeting, the rubber stamp members of the board overrode a request to hold off voting on school of choice for the "Project Lead the Way" program (requested because the program had not yet been approved for next year - cart before the horse) and they voted to accept open enrollment/school of choice for "Project Lead the Way".
    • Action item 5.3 - "Approval of Lawn Mower Purchase: Wes Goodman" (plan is to vote on the item)
    No backup documentation provided for the purchase of a Toro Groundsmaster 5900 "lawn mower" for $59,995.00, to be purchased with remaining 2003 bond money.
    • Action item 5.4 - " Approval of Paving Projects: Wes Goodman" (plan is to vote on the item)
    Estimate of $46,216 in "safety issue" paving repairs at six schools, but no actual  bid information because the bids are due in the the district at 10 AM on June 13th (the day of the meeting).  Funds to come from the Building and Site fund 2003 (fund #471) and the General Fund - Contracted Maintenance and Repair Budget.

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