Pattye Benson

Community Matters

TESD Public Information Committee Meeting Update

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was surpised to see the discussion of community blogs as an agenda item for the TESD Public Information committee meeting. I attended this morning’s meeting and Ray Clarke has kindly provided an update on the meeting which I share below. Ray mentions the TESD 2010-11 budget strategies that are to be available online today. I will post the document when it becomes available.

Ray Clarke’s Meeting Notes:

A quick update from this morning’s Public Information Committee. I came away with the sense that the Board is working diligently to improve communication with the public, but will take its time to embrace technology (eg video, blogs, Twitter) that reduces its control.

The good news is that there was support for a change in the Board Meeting process to allow public input on each priority Discussion/Action item – after any presentation of background material/recommendations and before Board discussion and vote. I suggested that while the Board needs to have the flexibility to manage the overall meeting length, the fewer a priori limits on number and length of comments the better. I think such a policy, if approved, would go a long way towards addressing the problems highlighted at last week’s meeting. It’s important to have a gauge of the extent and depth of public opinion.

On the Budget …..Next week’s Finance Committee meeting will be televised, but – I think – not live and not made available over the internet. The Committee was encouraged to look at practices from our neighbors, particularly Great Valley.

Also, in case anyone missed the item in the recent TESD Press Release, the “proposed 2010-2011 budget strategies that will be presented at the February 8, 2010 Finance Committee meeting will be posted on the T/E School District web site by the end of business on Tuesday, February 2, 2010”. TODAY!

So, plenty of time to identify your favorite at risk program and be prepared to speak for it! All the Info Committee members and the public at this morning’s meeting were concerned that this document be viewed only as a starting point for discussion.

And to close with comments relating to this blog (Community Matters): I got the sense that individual Board members do look on this (and others) as one of those gauges of public opinion I mention above. Along with, for example, formal District monitoring of traditional press sources, direct emails to the Board, etc. It may not have fully sunk in, though, that this is often a source of important news and information as well as opinion and analysis, and should perhaps be accorded a higher regard.

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  1. I would like to see the school district continue to become more transparent with available information. I look forward to to seeing the proposed budget strategies from TESD.

  2. I’ve been attending and watching the T/E School Board meetings for the past 8 years. I always thought that their agenda was designed specifically to discourage public comment. (Personally, I wouldn’t have the stomach to listen to all the passionate, well intentioned, but uninformed residents complaining.) Unfortunately, the agenda’s organization has prevented too many – including the well informed – from speaking up. Many have complained about this but Betsy F. never really “heard” them. The best school board members have worked hard to keep themselves available to hear from the public – not just their neighbors or selective friends. The best have also kept open minds about trying things differently. I am very surprised and pleased that the Public Information Committee agreed today to consider adjusting the School Board agendas to include public comment after presentations and before a Board vote. The meetings may be longer but definitely less boring and predictable! Perhaps the Board and Tredyffrin may eventually be open to reconsidering the EIT!?!

    Oh, and Pattye – keep up the great work with this blog. It provides needed information and is entertaining!

  3. and, most importantly, this blog provides a means by which john can call for the resignations of everyone whom he disagrees with, no matter what the issue…

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