Over the last few weeks, much attention has focused on the possible outsourcing of aides, paraeducators and substitute teachers – the lowest paid group of employees in the TE School District. I have spoken with a number of the employees that are facing an uncertain future. They continue to question ‘why’ the School Board gave the District administrators pay increases and bonuses, then turn around, and consider outsourcing the jobs of those least paid. District employees, whose jobs are now on the cutting block, do not understand how the administrators received raises, without any public discussion, as part of a consent agenda. If the school district’s financial situation is driving outsourcing, why did the School Board give the administrator raises and bonuses a few months ago?
For those who may not recall; at the TE School Board meeting on January 28, resident Ray Clarke questioned the inclusion of the administrator salary increases and bonuses in the consent agenda. He asked for public discussion of this specific issue and was told by the School Board president that any public discussion would occur ‘after’ the vote was taken rather than before.
The purpose of a consent agenda is to group routine, noncontroversial items together to be voted on under one motion. It is understood that items on the consent agenda should be routine items that do require further information before the board vote. The assumption is that the consent agenda purpose is not to purposely hide important issues or stifle discussion – yet in the case of the administrator salary increases, that is exactly what happened.
With upcoming important District votes related to outsourcing, it is important to review the District’s policy related to public discussion. Under District Policy Series 9000: By-Laws of the Board, is 9311 Order of Business of Monthly Board Meetings that clearly spells out the parameters that govern the School Board’s use of the consent agenda.
District Policy Series 9000: By-Laws of the Board
9311 Order of Business of Monthly Board Meetings
VIII Consent Agenda
A. Approve Minutes
B. Receive Financial Reports
D. Curriculum and Instruction
E. Business Office
F. Staff and Students
H. School Board
Now that I look over the District’s consent agenda policy, it is unclear under which category the Board used the consent agenda approval of administrator raises and bonuses. Originally, my objection was the administrator salary increases and bonuses were not ‘routine’ and, therefore should not have been included in the consent agenda. However, when reviewing the list of approved uses of the consent agenda, it is not clear to me which category the School Board actually included administrator raises and bonuses. Interesting …