Some things on my mind. I do not intend to ask these at the Board Meeting because I do not think Board Meetings are the proper venue to ask these kinds of questions, so perhaps I can put these questions to the Board in an email after I finalize it. But I present it here as a “work in progress” kind of thing. Please feel free to add your own – I think I’ll update this original post with new comments/thoughts/suggestions (even though RSS doesn’t like that).
1. Request for more visibility (aka, transparency) into the Bids and RFPs. Right now, outside of Board Meeting agendas and minutes, Bids and RFPs only show up briefly on the Unit 4 website (on this one page – which was kindly copied to the Quick Links section). It would be helpful for more information surrounding the bids and RFPs be made available to the public. For instance, I recently noticed the RFP for Hovercam T3 Document Cameras was on the U4 website last week and is now gone, but it shows up in the Board agenda, and the Business Office recommends to the Board to go with School Tech Supply. How do I, as a public taxpayer, know why these Hovercams are needed or to what use they will be put? The only tool I have right now is to go back to every single Board Meeting Minutes and manually look to see if this was discussed on the off-chance the justification can be found in Open Meeting. Or I could FOIA any and all references to it. As an enhancement, I would request the following:
- Any Bid or RFP that appears on the BidsRFPs.html page remain on that page
- A status flag (for example, “open”, “closed”) be marked for each bid/RFP
- links to documents justifying the bid/RFP be included when first posted
- Summary of any discussions (especially those involving the Board) related to the bid/RFP
2. District Administration has done a lot of work to quickly get ready for extra large classes this next year (ie, the “bubble” gifted class that Trevor has publicly talked about). While I realize the District is moving at lightspeed and many balls are being juggled at the same time, I am concerned about how the decisions were made. Which leads me to ask several related questions:
- Exactly what all is being planned 2012-2013 (in terms of accommodating large grade levels)? Trevor’s interview with WILL talks about one of the classes that will be added at Dr. Howard – what about “Carrie Busey, Bottenfield, Robeson, and Southside”?
- How about the next 5 years?
- How is this information being communicate outwards (to the Board, to the Community)?
- How is the public engaged in the decision-making process? If they are not, why not? [note I am not trying to be argumentative – my intent and tone is to learn the facts]
3. What is the latest update about the Public Engagement Firm? I believe firms were interviewed already, correct?
4. The recent RFP for the Choice Program (active) has a lot of legal language, but is short on describing actual functionality. How will a suitable vendor be selected? What criteria will be used to determine what the final product shall look like if such criteria is not official documented? Will parents and those who actually use the system get a chance to voice their opinions?
5. A mystery: why is the document that discusses changes to Board Policy (June 11th Board Meeting BoardDocs) entitled “Board Bars Unfinished Business”?
6. There are a lot of bids and RFPs for technology related items. When talking to local tech experts, I have learned that local resources are not often consulted or even made aware of a related bid/RFP. I realize these bids/RFPs are posted online (which is not monitored) and posted to the News-Gazette (again, monitoring is an issue). Would it be feasible to make more of an effort to invite local outlets? How about more general discussion surrounding the requirements for such technology in the first place?