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Saturday, September 17, 2011

My comments to the CCS board 9/12/11

The Board packets on the district website

I appreciate that the district is putting the board packets on the district website now.  That is a plus in transparency, but I would appreciate it if the entire board packet would be posted on the website.  I sent an email to Heidi late this afternoon asking if the board packet was complete and she advised that there were only a few extra financial documents that were not included, when in fact there were several documents that were missing. 

I would hope in the future that the district post the entire actual board packet and also post it on the Fridays before the Monday meetings instead of waiting until Monday to post the information on the website.

Board policy
I just wanted to advise the board that according to the board Functions, under bylaws and policies, “The Board of Education shall adopt bylaws and policies for the organization and operation of this Board and the District.”  The Administrative Guidelines are the responsibility of the superintendent to carry out the policies set by the board.  
Removal of school board meetings from Comcast
I am disappointed in the Clarkston School District's decision to remove the school board meetings from channel 22 on Comcast cable.  It is now only on the district’s website. 

Unfortunately, when the Clarkston News contacted Dr. Rock to see what was happening when the board meetings were stopped on Comcast, the Clarkston News printed on 8/17/11 that Dr. Rock said,
"The meetings are and will continue to be broadcasted on cable," said Dr. Rock, superintendent. "We are also planning to stream them on our website. We plan to have this as a secondary method for all to view the meetings."

He explained only Independence Township residents have the option to watch it on Comcast cable right now. Expanding it to the internet allows more interested community members to watch.

Rock also said they plan to add finance committee meetings, as well."
Since then, none of the board meetings have been broadcasted on Comcast's channel 22.  On top of that, I have heard from multiple people who were not only unable to download the board meetings on their computers because the broadcast uses so much memory on their computers, but the attempt to view the board meetings also locked up their computers.

I believe that if the district is serious about being "transparent" and allowing more residents to view the meetings, then they need to go back to broadcasting the board meetings on Comcast AND on the district website because not everyone has access to the internet or Comcast cable. 

Dr. Rock’s unapproved technology plans

On Dr. Rock’s “September Column” of his “Superintendent Columns” on the district website, he said,

“Several of our schools will pilot technology initiatives this year, including iPads, Netbooks, student response systems, and wireless environments.  Throughout the year, you can expect to hear about a possible technology bond that would enhance instructional technology across the district.” 

That sounds great, but if the district has overcrowded classrooms, fewer aides, and cuts in classroom aides in lower elementary grades, is this how Dr. Rock thinks it’s the most prudent way to spend the limited school funds? 

Also, as of the date Dr. Rock posted that “September Column”, he had not come forward to the board to get approval for the appropriations for “iPads, Netbooks, student response systems, or wireless environments” although he has stated that the schools “will pilot technology initiatives” and although any expenses over 20 thousand something dollars must be approved by the board (from “ Purchasing Policy 6320A”, it saysBudgeted items that cost less than $18,915 (2005-06) may be purchased without approval of the Board”).

Do policies not apply to Dr. Rock?

Board, please take your place as the board and control your employee and don’t let him control you!

Thank you.

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