|While the Loudon County School Board decided not to
vote on taking out of county students into the system, they did take
another curious vote at last Thursday's meeting.
For years, the board policy has been to have two separate meetings per month to handle school business. first a workshop then usually two weeks later, the formal board meeting for voting. The idea is, the workshop is informal with no voting but to hear discussion or proposals for the next voting meeting. With time between the meetings, board members have time to research, gather information and speak to constituents about upcoming votes. Workshops also provide time for board members to discuss issues among themselves. Doing so outside a meeting would violate the state Sunshine Law.
For quite some time now, the board has been in violation of that policy by having both meetings on the same night. A potential lawsuit had been threatened against the board for the policy violation.
The board fixed that problem Thursday. Rather than going back to having two monthly meetings, they voted to change the policy to have both meetings on the same night. Apparently, board members don't feel they need any time between meetings to prepare before they cast votes. Given that they can not, by law, discuss policies or any board business among themselves outside of a public meeting, all their voting decisions will be made on very short notice with very little background or investigation. Workshop at 6:00, voting meeting to follow.
In contrast, county commission will not even put an item on the agenda to consider for a vote unless it has been discussed at a previous workshop. An informed elected official is a better elected official.
Each of the 10 school board members receive a little more than $4,000.00 per year for their service. That used to mean at least 24 meetings per year. Since they've cut their meetings in half, did they cut their pay in half? I checked the records. Seems there was no accompanying to reduce their pay.
Guess they know what they're doing. Might be a good topic of discussion for all the school board candidates running for election this August.
If any elected official doesn't want to put in the time and energy it takes to represent their constituents, maybe elected office isn't for them