Gather community feedback, publicly discuss, and vote on broadcasting meetings via OPTV.
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This petition offers Oradell residents, Oradell Public School staff, and other community stakeholders an opportunity to tell the Oradell Public School District Board of Education that:
- We care about Oradell Public School and want to be better informed about the Board of Education's decision-making. We cannot always participate in public meetings due to work obligations, commutes, and family commitments. This should not be mistaken for a lack of interest in the Board's work.
- All Oradell residents are invested in Oradell Public School District by virtue of the relationship between successful school districts and stable property values. As such, Board of Education communications should be accessible to the entire community.
- We want the Board to give clear notice before it discusses issues that affect students' educations (e.g., budget allocations, cuts to school programs, the expired contract with the Oradell Education Association, etc.). We want the opportunity to provide feedback before important decisions are made.
- We expect elected Board members to communicate with—and solicit feedback from—constituents. Providing notice of public meetings and documenting meeting minutes may fulfill the Board of Education's legal responsibilities. But these tactics are insufficient as public communication vehicles.
- Many of the Board of Education's current practices make it needlessly burdensome for the public to remain informed. Not only is the Board failing to address its own online policies for community relations goals and objectives, it has neglected to provide even the most basic information required to engage with Board members. As of this writing, the Board of Education's online schedule of public meetings does not display meeting times or locations. Its website does not include committee assignments or e-mail addresses for individual members of the Board.
- Broadcasting meetings and archiving videos online would allow the Board of Education to join other Borough entities in providing a higher level of public communication and service. This tactic has already been successfully employed by Oradell's Mayor and Council, Planning Board, and Zoning Board. In working with Oradell Public Television (OPTV), the Board of Education would benefit from the Borough's significant investments in broadcasting equipment and technologies—equipment and technologies the school district could not otherwise afford.
When presented last month with a proposal to work with OPTV at no cost (for broadcasting meetings at Borough Hall) or minimal cost (for meetings held at Oradell Public School), the Board of Education preempted public discussion of the topic by evaluating it behind closed doors "in committee." During its April 26th public meeting, commentary on the proposal came only from the Board President. This response underscores the type of decision-making processes that concern us. Instead of owning its public communication responsibilities, the Board of Education opted to shift the burden of communicating its work to parents.
We are asking the Oradell Public School District Board of Education and District Superintendent to fix this by:
(1) Researching public communication best practices (including broadcasting meetings via OPTV and video on demand) and gathering feedback from residents, school staff, OPTV officials, and other community stakeholders about available resources, public information needs, and residents' media preferences.
(2) Developing recommendations informed by community feedback and holding a public discussion about Board of Education communication, inviting comments from all Board members and the public at large.
(3) Voting publicly on a communication plan that includes broadcasts of Board of Education meetings on OPTV and video on demand, so Board members can go on record about their willingness to ensure meeting transparency and accessibility. A vote should take place on or before the Board of Education's public meeting on June 14, 2017. This would allow the Board to implement changes over the summer, and to launch an improved public communication plan for the 2017-2018 school year.
The sign in front of Oradell Public School proudly announces "a tradition of excellence." Please ask the Oradell Public School District Board of Education to uphold this tradition in its public communication efforts. Encourage our Board members to lead by example.
Sign today to ask the Oradell Public School District Board of Education and District Superintendent to research, develop, and vote on a communication plan that improves public information access and makes Board of Education meetings available through Oradell Public Television and video on demand.
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