The Richland 2 school board held an emergency (Special Called) board meeting on January 13, 2021.
How do you define emergency?
Here's what Google has to say: "An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property, or environment. Most emergencies require urgent intervention to prevent a worsening of the situation, although in some situations, mitigation may not be possible and agencies may only be able to offer palliative care for the aftermath."
I'll agree with that. Will you?
The purpose of the special-called meeting wasn't even to make a decision. It was to give the board an forum to provide input to the superintendent.
Couldn't that have been done in an e-mail? Or the night before, at the Regular Board Meeting?
There were several notable moments during the meeting. For some strange reason, it has not been posted on YouTube or in the usual place on the school board webpage. You can watch it at www.livestream.com/richland2
Considerable time was wasted talking about how teachers were supposed to get vaccinated. Should they be allowed to go during the day? What if they have a negative side-effect? Should they get more paid time off?
Absolutely no one mentioned having all the teachers meet in the cafeteria after school and arranging a medical professional to come and vaccinate them at the school!
Teresa Holmes pulled out the race card pretty early in the meeting by announcing that there are increased reactions/side-effect among minorities. Of course, no statistics. Just slipped the race card out of the deck and laid it out for all.
There are 3,655 full-time employees. Why is it the responsibility of the District to see that they get vaccinated (if they choose to)? Why not let them act like employees of every other business and get busy (after work) and make their own arrangements?
At least one trustee admitted to being scared. I was reminded of AOC's belief that she was going to be killed on January 6. If you are scared, call your therapist.
Suggestions for the Board:
Hire a consultant or coach to teach you how to make brief, succinct comments and then to stop talking. A couple of the board members don't know how to stop, once they get on a roll. This meeting had good examples of that.
TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES. Several board members could be observed looking off-screen, probably at their phones for text messages or emails. One Board member's phone could be heard dinging. Incoming text?
At 1:14:25 trustee-elect Teresa Holmes admitted receiving several texts during the meeting. If she is getting communications during a public board meeting, those communications should be shared with all the members and the public.
Board Policy BEDL specifically prohibits this in the very first line of the policy. "Board members will not communicate electronically during meetings with members of the public, other board members, or school district staff regarding official school board business ... as such communications are subject to public disclosure under the state open meetings laws." The Board Policy applies to personal and district owned devices, and it includes tweets, texts, phone calls, web posts and other electronic communication.
Who is responsible for filing a complaint against a board member for violating a board policy? What are the consequences?
At 1:16-10 trustee-elect Holmes said, with great authority, "The Board does not have the authority to make this particular decision", referring to re-opening schools. She is wrong! Of course, the Board has that authority. It chooses not to exercise it and, rather, to pass the buck to the superintendent.
Was trustee-elect McKie having some type of medical emergency during the meeting? Watch the recording at 1:05:15. She was very uncomfortable, jiggling in her chair, distracted. Watch her eye movements. Then she either turned off her camera or left the meeting for half a minute. When she returned, she was inattentive and had jittery fingers.
If she is ill, perhaps she should resign from the board. Oh, wait; she can't "resign" because she is not even on the board legitimately. She needs to take the oath of office (legally) to become a legitimate board member.