A key component for building trust and cohesiveness in a school district revolves around transparency and accountability. On July 26, the school board held a Special Meeting dedicated to obtaining legal advice regarding statutory notice requirements for the upcoming election. The majority of the meeting was held behind closed doors (see video). At the conclusion of the meeting, President Carson provided the following statement, "“There are important educational reform issues in our school district and these are important to our electorate. Under the law we must reserve a potential spot on the ballot at least 100 days before the election and any final decision on this question will be made by the Board in late August.”
When asked what measures are under consideration for the November election, Carson responded that the reform efforts are still under deliberation and declined to comment. The public is eager to listen and ready to engage with the Board, but are at a distinct disadvantage when conversations are held behind closed doors.
The law and policy of this state affirm that the formation of public policy is public business and may not be conducted in secret. The intent of the Open Meetings Law is to ensure that the public has access to meetings, including school board meetings, at which public business is considered. The law guarantees that citizens will be given a greater opportunity to become fully informed on issues of public importance so that meaningful participation in the decision-making process may be achieved.
This public petition is the third request made to the Board of Education. The first request was made by email on August 2nd (click here to read); the second attempt was made during Public Comment on August 7th (click here to read).
- Douglas County School Board
We are writing to you as a broad-based group of concerned citizens and parents who are requesting the Board of Education to immediately schedule a Special Meeting to discuss any and all education reform efforts currently under deliberation and consideration for the November election. We ask the Board to live up to its claim of transparency. This request is the third public request made to the Board asking for a public discussion. The first request, dated August 2nd, went unanswered by the Board. The second request, made on August 7th, received no response. (Both requests are available at www.StrongSchoolsCoalition.com.) This public petition is a third attempt to afford the citizens of Douglas County a voice. The continual dismissal and lack of response will cause future claims of transparency and accountability to ring hollow.
According to Board policy, a Special Meeting can be scheduled with 24 hours notice. By holding a Special Meeting prior to the upcoming Community Engagement meeting on the 21st of August, you will provide the citizens of Douglas County an opportunity to become informed and engaged in regards to the education reform issues under deliberation. The regularly scheduled District Accountability Committee (DAC) meeting on August 14 would provide a fitting forum for this type of discussion and this Special Meeting could be added to the end of the DAC agenda.
The law and policy of this state affirm that the formation of public policy is public business and may not be conducted in secret. The intent of the Open Meetings Law is to ensure that the public has access to meetings, including school board meetings, at which public business is considered. The law guarantees that citizens will be given a greater opportunity to become fully informed on issues of public importance so that meaningful participation in the decision-making process may be achieved. How can meaningful participation occur when discussions take place outside of the public's view?
Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and we look forward to receiving your reply which will be posted publicly so that all individuals who sign this petition will have access to your response.
Strong Schools Coalition CO started this petition with a single signature, and now has 554 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.