Special board meeting tonight, update on Schools of Choice RFP

Tonight is a special Special Board Meeting. Occasionally the Board is called in to deal with one of these issues:

  • 120/2(c)(1) Employee appointments, employment, compensation, dismissals, complaints
  • 120/2(c)(2) Negotiations
  • 120/2(c)(5) Property Acquisition/Lease/Purchase
  • 120/2(c)(8) Emergency Security Procedures
  • 120/2(c)(9) Student Discipline
  • 120/2(c)(11) Actual/Potential Litigation
  • 120/2(c)(16) Self-Evaluation, practices and procedures or professional ethics when meeting with a representative of a statewide association of which the public body is a member
  • 120/2(c)(21) Closed Meeting Minutes Discussion/Review


What I am torn about is that I think they are technically abiding by OMA, but they are not disclosing as much information as they possibly can. For instance, I have since learned that the meeting was specifically called for 120/2(c)(9) Student Discpipline. Why is that not mentioned on board docs? The only reason I have right now is that it is not required (not by OMA nor by Policy). I get it that it is the “easy” thing to do to announce all the possibilities for Executive Session “just in case”, but I sincerely wonder, is that the best way?


Here is the flip side. What if I just shut up about this? I have to question myself, is my pestering of the Board in this manner productive in any way? I really don’t know. I hear both sides; some of you like what I am doing, some of you think I am a hindrance and an obstruction. As always, I am glad there are differences of opinion – I highly value that! But what good is my question-asking really doing? That is what I am searching for right now.


On that note, I recently asked about the progress with the Schools of Choice (SoC) RFP. From the school attorney, Mr. Tom Lockman:

I have been working with District staff on the Choice RFP and am comfortable with where it stands at this point.  The District is planning to follow the same schedule as last year in terms of issuing the RFP.  This will allow us to have gone all the way through the selection, determination and notification processes to determine if there is anything the District feels needs to be added or changed to the existing language based on how things go.  If you do have additional thoughts beyond what was shared at our first meeting which you wish to share, please feel free to email me.  Thanks.


I told Mr. Lockman at “our first meeting” that I had at least two bottom lines (sometimes you just can’t have one *grin*):

  • make a system that is intuitive and garners a positive experience from all who interact with it
  • we don’t waste taxpayers dollars (which I fully believe we have been doing for many years)


So again, I wonder about my effectiveness. Is it worthwhile for me to raise my voice and become a “squeaky wheel”? Or what would happen if I just turned my attention elsewhere? I really really want to hunt this down. But at what cost?


For my part, I want to see the RFP; I want to make sure we stop sending money to Massachusetts; I would love to have the software solution be handled locally. But I personally do not need these things. My question then becomes, what is best for all of us? That I do not know.


Tom is no stranger to the Schools of Choice saga; just a couple years ago, he was instrumental in writing some enhancements like going from 3 to 5 choices (5 was a compromise, we wanted more), and I think helped to spur the video and other little things that have slightly improved this beast. One of my options is to just trust Tom and see where this goes.

3 Responses to “Special board meeting tonight, update on Schools of Choice RFP”

  1. Laura B. Says:

    Personally, I think that by being the “squeaky wheel”, you’ve been able to get the District to do some things they wouldn’t have done if you hadn’t spoken up. It’s our job as community members to provide them with feedback and let them know what we think. I’m sure they’d prefer that we become cheerleaders for everything they do. However, if we do that, we’re failing the kids (who can’t vote yet and thus don’t really have a voice). So, keep asking questions. 🙂

  2. G. David Frye Says:

    I want to respond to the previous responder first, then to Charles. In my mind I think we need to be cheerleaders for 95% of what the board does, or we elected the wrong people in the first place. The most important task they have is to put an administration in place that does the real work and for which the board provides a backstop. I think they’ve done that, and it has to be profoundly disheartening when the same people nickel-and-dime every decision – and sometimes even the hint of the possibility of a decision.

    So, can you be a 95-percenter? Find 19 things to recognize as good board/staff accomplishments, for every 1 thing you criticize? I have often thought that some issues here have been stretched so thin to find a point of disagreement – maybe it would be worth stretching the facts a little from time to time to find something to be positive about. I’d even settle for 90%!

    Charles, I have read several times your comment here about the closed-meeting policy and still don’t get what you think the problem is. Do you want the board to explicitly say, “and we’re going to cover 120/2(c)(8) in our session”? The law doesn’t require it. There would be times where doing so would telegraph the specific issue and invite controversy. Student discipline, in board terms, I think most often means the action they are required to take to confirm an expulsion. I do not think we have any right to be in the middle of that process. I’m dismayed that you were able to even find out that student discipline was the topic as I don’t think anyone on the board or administration has the right to make that fact public.

  3. pattsi Says:

    Just a quick explanation on the OMA–when there will be a closed session, all that is necessary is a general statement, such a salary negotiations. No actions can be taken in closed session JUST discussion on the topic, NOTHING else. The other aspect is a fine line as to using closed sessions appropriately. There have been discussions a the CB level whether a subject falls under a closed meeting. Use of such can be over used.

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