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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2/13/12 CCS Board meeting or "What just happened?"

The February 13, 2012 CCS Board meeting was the most surreal Clarkston school board meeting I have ever been to.  I still can't believe what I saw.

The four and a half hour meeting will be on Comcast channel 22 until the district posts the 2/27/12 board meeting.  You may also view it on the district's video site here:  http://www.ustream.tv/channel/clarkston-schools-board-of-ed .  Due to the length of the meeting, there are two videos.

As of the time I write this, there have been 50 views of the first video and 172 views of the second video (part 2).  The reason there have been so many views of the second video is because of what happened toward the end of the second video when the district's attorney came to speak to the board.     

The meeting itself almost became a violation of the Open Meetings Act due to the change in the meeting time from 7 PM to 6 PM not being posted on the door of the Administration Building (the official public posting location).  Apparently administration was advised in advance of the potential violation of the Open Meetings Act if the meeting were to go on at 6 PM, so the district then changed the meeting time back from 6 PM to 7 PM.  The district has changed the board meeting times from 7 PM to 6 PM on many occasions in the recent past without posting it the the Administration Building front window, but apparently no one 'called' the district on the violations until this last week.  The earlier the meetings, the fewer people they will get at the meeting and the fewer people who can speak to specific board topics.  The Michigan Open Meetings Act information is available here: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/publications/openmtgsfreedom.pdf .  From the document, I extracted this:

"Notification of Meetings:" (on page 26 of 42)
"If there is a change in schedule, within three days of the meeting in which the change is made, the public body must post a notice stating the new dates, times and places of regular meetings."

"Penalties Under the Act:" (on page 28 of 42)
"The first time a public official intentionally breaks the law, he or she can be punished by a maximum fine of $1,000. For a second offense within the same term of office, he or she can be fined up to $2,000, jailed for a maximum of one year or both.  A public official who intentionally violates the act is also personally liable for actual and exemplary damages up to $500, plus court costs and attorney fees."  The district might argue that they did not intentionally break the law, but many people have complained about the recent changes to the usual 7 PM start time being changed to 6 PM.  They believe that 6 PM meeting time makes it difficult for many people to attend at the beginning of the meetings.               
I also believe that Mrs. McGinnis' and Dr. Rock's preparation of the board packet for the 2/13/12 board meeting was not respectful of the rest of the board.  The board package is available here: http://www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/education/page/download.php?fileinfo=MjAxMi0wMi0xM19Cb2FyZF9QYWNrZXQucGRmOjo6L3d3dy9zY2hvb2xzL3NjL3JlbW90ZS9pbWFnZXMvZG9jbWdyL0FMTGZpbGU1MTQ5NS5wZGY=

Page 3 (of 73) of the board packet was the agenda that showed the last two discussion items were 7.3 ("First Reading of Policies" for discussion of proposed policy changes) and 7.4 ("Board Member Conduct").  If you go down to the end of the document, pages 57 to 73 (of 73) are the end of the board packet.  There was no documentation given in the board packet in regard to Section 7.4 "Board Member Conduct".  According to comments made in the meeting and in discussion I had after the board meeting with board members Mrs. Lieblang, Mrs. Boatman, and Mrs. Patterson, they had requested information on the content of the Section 7.4 discussion item prior to the meeting and they all said that what they were told by Cheryl McGinnis (board president) that was to be discussed was nothing like what actually happened during the meeting.  It appears that Mrs. McGinnis and Dr. Rock decided to blind-side the board.

We urge you to email Mr. Butler's boss, William Burgess, to express your displeasure with Mr. Butler's conduct at the 2/13/12 CCS Board Meeting.  Here is his contact information:
 
Mr. Butler's boss: CEO William Burgess.
Email: wburgess@dickinsonwright.com
Calls can be made to Mr. Burgess at: 313-223-3634, or the main office: 313-223-3500.
   
If you are concerned about the direction of the Clarkston Schools and would like to be connected to and support C.R.I.S.I.S., please go to the C.R.I.S.I.S. website at http://csdbond.yolasite.com/ .  Then go to the "Volunteer - Donate" page.

Thanks!

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