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Sunday, October 14, 2012

email to Cheryl McGinnis regarding the decrease in transparency in the Clarkston Community Schools sent 10/12/12

Mrs. McGinnis,

In regard to my previous requests and the district's changes to district transparency and openness, I have concerns because I see things getting more hidden and "opaque" than ever before.
  1. You never responded to me in regard to the non-affiliated contracts that were missing from the 9/24/12 board packet (although they were finally in the 10/8/12 board packet).
  2. Your comments show that you actually back Dr. Rock's change to be less transparent and less timely in making board packets available to the public.  Not supplying the board packets on the district website and waiting until the day of the meeting to send out the board packets solely to the people who have specifically requested the board packets limits the availability of the information to the public and does not allow the public sufficient time to study the data.  
  3. Dr. Rock is abiding by the minimum legal requirements of the Open Meetings Act when he was previously more transparent.  This is not a positive move for the school district (or the community at large) and does not bode well for your candidacy for re-election to the board in November, because, as president of the school board, you are allowing it to happen.  
  4. If you and the remaining three rubber stamp majority of the school board prefer the "video-recorded,-but-no-audio-and-inaudible-to-anyone-who-is-not-at-the-round-table" discussions (per your responses to me below) during the meetings, then you are apparently in favor of making sure that no one hears about the subjects discussed in the round table discussions.  Shame on Dr. Rock, you, and your fellow board members and supporters of this form of communication (Steve Hyer, Barry Bomier, and Elizabeth Egan).  In the last month, those subjects have included:
    • Building Reports (CJHS & CHS)
    • Secondary Scheduling
    • Standards Based Grading & Pilot Program
    • Technology Strategic Plan
    • Thinking Together
    • Building Reports (PKE & AE)
    • Non-Affiliated Contracts
    • Technology
    • Title I/At Risk Interventions    
As I had already advised you on September 24th, I reviewed the two versions of the 9/24/12 board packets.  I stand corrected on the addition vs. removal of your unprofessional, confrontational, and non-collaborative (to use Dr. Rock's third most favorite term) comments that you stated before the September 11th Board Self Evaluation.  I also feel that the inclusion of all of your inflammatory comments in the minutes instead of the normal shortened summary minutes was also totally unprofessional.

I found that the "discussion" during the "Discussion Item 7.4, Board Self-Evaluation Follow-Up" at the 9/24/12 meeting regarding the September 11th Board Self Evaluation was childish and is was a clear example of bullying coming from the very top of the district.  The Board Self Evaluation discussion meeting had been delayed for over two months due to the inability to find a day when Barry Bomier's and Elizabeth Egan's vacation schedules could be accommodated.  Sue Boatman advised you of her inability to attend the meeting a week before the scheduled date.  You should have rescheduled the meeting at that time, period.  However, you chose not to do that.  The last I checked, you board members were all adults.  A board member's reason for why they cannot make a meeting is not up for scrutiny for the "legitimacy" of the reason for the inability of a board member to attend.  As it was, Barry Bomier was not in attendance for that regular, 9/24/12, board meeting and it had been scheduled for months before hand.  He was not given the third degree about the reason why he was not at the meeting.     

Here were your word-for-word comments that were reflected in the 9/11/12 meeting minutes:

"As you already know, I have heard from Sue Boatman that she is unable to attend our Board Self-Evaluation scheduled for tonight due to a social conflict that arose after we all confirmed in a public meeting that we were available tonight.  Subsequently Rosalie Lieblang communicated that if everyone could not attend, that she would not make herself available to participate. Finally, this morning I received a communication from Joan Patterson suggesting that we cancel the meeting and schedule it after the elections and that she also would not participate tonight.

Several months ago this board discussed in open session our desire to proceed with the Self-Evaluation process. To this end, this evaluation has been put off for many reasons. Prior to the August 20th board meeting, all Trustees were directed to bring their calendars to said meeting to re-confirm their availability for the September 11th date. With unanimous consent, September 11th was confirmed and communicated to Oakland Schools. That confirmation put in motion the posting of the meeting, Oakland Schools scheduling a facilitation team to be available, planning on the team's part for the retreat and booking a room. Also, as recent as last night’s board meeting this date and time were reconfirmed without any comments from board members in public that they could not attend. It is the chair’s intention to conduct business tonight and not let one board member’s social schedule defer us from our obligation to this community as elected School Board Trustees."

I hope that you will begin to make the changes that are needed in communication between the district and the public and administration and the board.  It is long overdue.

Thank you.

Dawn Schallerhttp://acrosstheboard-clarkston.blogspot.com/


From: "Cheryl McGinnis"
To: Dawn Schaller
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 4:38:21 PM
Subject: Re: Revised Board Packet (CCS 10/24/12 Board Packet issues)

Mrs. Schaller,

Thank you for contacting the Board of Education.  Your continued interest in the Clarkston Community Schools is appreciated.

Currently, Dr. Rock is in compliance with the Open Meetings Act (OMA) which governs notice of meetings to the public.  The OMA also states that the public notice may, but is not required to, include an agenda, unless a public hearing is included as part of the meeting.  At this time, it is the recommendation of the Superintendent to not load board packets to the district web site until our technology is brought up-to-date.  I am confident that Dr. Rock will continue to evaluate district compliance to full public transparency as required by law.

At this time, I am unaware of any citizen that has requested a copy of the board packet whether printed or electronically that has not been given it.

Feedback from many board members has been extremely positive in regards to the workshop format of the first meeting of the month.  This is an opportunity for the board to work together in a less formal setting and is for conducting the school district’s business and not intended to be a public community hearing.  Citizens are welcome to attend these workshops; however, citizens will be given seating away from the workshop tables in designated areas just as provided for at Regular Board Meetings.  As always the board will provide time for citizen’s comments in items #3 and #8 at these workshops.

As I know you are aware, your comments in item #2 in your communication regarding the action of the chair are incorrect and your understanding of what was changed in the board packet is also incorrect.  I do appreciate your understanding of oversight in including the BAR to Item 5.2, as we are all human and make mistakes.  I know an honest effort to adjust and move forward is the desire of all involved.

As always, thank you again for contacting your Board of Education.

--
Cheryl McGinnis
President, Clarkston Community School Board of Education
Home of Inaugural National Green Ribbon School 2012, Clarkston High School
“If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.” – Win Borden


On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 4:03 PM, Dawn Schaller wrote:
Dr. Rock, Mrs. McGinnis, and Mrs. McClain,

I received the first Board Packet this morning at 8:38 AM and the updated version at 11 AM for tonight's board meeting.

I was very disappointed, but not surprised, by what I found.  Two things stood out when I viewed both versions of the Board Packets... 
  1. "Board Action Item 5.2. is called "Approval of Non-Affiliate Contracts: Anita Banach".  There are no attachments for the Non-Affiliate Contracts on either of the 9/24/12 board packets.  On 9/10/12, the contracts were discussed on camera, but there were no microphones at the round table discussions (how convenient), so no one could hear those discussions on the video recordings.  No one would have known about it (besides the board members) if Betty Reilly and I hadn't attended the round table discussions at the 9/10/12 board meeting, but the contracts were not on the 9/10/12 board packet either (nor were any of the subjects of the "Item 6 Roundtable Workshop Sessions" from 9/10/12). 
  2. The 11 AM change to the 9/24/12 Board Packet was to delete the following comments in blue italics from page 6 of the Board Packet for the minutes of the 9/11/12 workshop meeting for the Board Self-Evaluation.  However, I recall Board Members saying the 9/11/12 date for the Board Self-Evaluation was not convenient for them in previous meetings.  I have a feeling that the below statement was actually part of the meeting, but someone checked a past video and realized that the statement was false...  If, so, shame on Mrs. McGinnis for saying this at the 9/11/12 meeting in front of the Oakland Intermediate School District representatives, Dr. Vickie Markavitch and Dr. JoAnn Andrees.  This meeting should not have been scheduled if all of the board members could not be present.  The comments removed were: 
    • "Several months ago this board discussed in open session our desire to proceed with the Self-Evaluation process. To this end, this evaluation has been put off for many reasons. Prior to the August 20th board meeting, all Trustees were directed to bring their calendars to said meeting to re-confirm their availability for the September 11th date. With unanimous consent, September 11th was confirmed and communicated to Oakland Schools. That confirmation put in motion the posting of the meeting, Oakland Schools scheduling a facilitation team to be available, planning on the team's part for the retreat and booking a room. Also, as recent as last night’s board meeting this date and time were reconfirmed without any comments from board members in public that they could not attend. It is the chair’s intention to conduct business tonight and not let one board member’s social schedule defer us from our obligation to this community as elected School Board Trustees."
Along with the district continuing to not load the board packet to the district website (as it had done prior to July, 2012), sending out the PDF versions of the board packets only upon request, and not sending the board packets until the day of the meeting (when the board packets are sent to the board members several days before the Monday meetings), are all evidence of a lack of transparency to the public that is growing within the district.
Please provide the Non-Affiliate Contracts.

Thank you.

Dawn Schaller
http://acrosstheboard-clarkston.blogspot.com/





From: "Heidi Mcclain"
   To: "Heidi Mcclain"
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2012 11:01:08 AM
Subject: Revised Board Packet

Tonight's board packet has been revised with an update to the September 11, 2012 Board Workshop minutes (item 2.3).  The revised packet is attached.

Thank you,
Heidi


--

Heidi S. McClain

Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and

Board/Superintendent Communications

Clarkston Community Schools

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