Saturday, January 30, 2021

School board needs a Parliamentarian!!!

How can I describe last Tuesday's (Jan. 26) school board meeting?

A train wreck! I started to watch the Livestream on January 26 and quickly bailed out. Then I decided today to browse the recorded meeting.

At 1:31:30 (on the timer) Supt. Davis was going on and on about putting Richland 2 students in positions to "be global citizens prepared to lead themselves in a chosen pathway." "This is the mission of the school district. Mission critical." Where were they? NASA?  ... and "global citizens" a couple of more times...  And how Richland 2 has the finest educators in the state, maybe in the nation. Yawn....

Then, at 1:43:50, the Agenda Item for the proposed agenda for the next meeting began.  You'll want to watch that. Trustee Elkins wanted an agenda item to discuss face coverings (masks, shields) for board members. She is quarantining at home and said she won't return to Board meetings until there is a Policy. Board Chair Manning said there is a Board Policy - ABD. He asked if Monica wanted to make a motion to revise it. She did. 

Her Motion failed, 3-4. Elkins, Agostini and McFadden voted in favor. Manning, McKie, Caution-Parker and Holmes voted against it. No surprises there, for sure.

Why was the majority of the board unwilling to approve such a motion and allow discussion at the next meeting of a revision to a Policy?

And right there is where the meeting ran off the rails! I mean, OFF THE RAILS!!!

Monica spoke up and was allowed to continue speaking. She didn't ask to be recognized. She was out-of-order and got away with it. The Motion had been voted on. Discussion was over. A Point-of-Order should have been called. 

Monica said that, when the Board Chair and superintendent want something added to the agenda, it gets added. But, when a Board member wants something added, a vote is required.  And often such motions are voted down because of personal prejudice or like or dislike of a person (board member).

She hit the nail on the board. Often, when Agostini or Elkins wants something, they are voted down 2-5 or 3-4. Who hangs together to control the board? McKie, Holmes, Caution-Parker and Manning. 

Manning over-rode Elkins, interrupted her and tried to silence her, but Elkins was right. (Later in the Board and Superintendent Comments, Holmes tried to school Elkins (and Agostini) about "democracy" and majority rule.

Elkins commented further, and then the superintendent piped in. He too was out-of-order. He often does that, speaking without obtaining the Chair's acknowledgement and approval to speak. 

A Parliamentarian, if fully independent of the board, would correct any Board Member who spoke out in clear violation of Robert's Rules of Order. Same with the superintendent, which is why the Parliamentarian should not be a District employee. An employee in the role of Parliamentarian would be headed for the bread line.

At 1:58:10 Trustee Agostini made a Motion for an HR update. The superintendent immediately jumped in (Out-of-Order again) to ask for a delay. Then Elkins chimed in, also out-of-order.

Mrs. Agostini's motion needed a second, before discussion. It never got a second. And the discussion was argument, not discussion. 

The superintendent discounted Agostini's request, and then he tried to smooth over with "Respectfully" and "humbly". Had I been on the Board, about that time I would have made a motion to fire him. And make him sue for the balance of his contract. The majority on the board (The Squad, as I call them) have given him quite a Golden Parachute, and they would vote against firing him.

Manning asked Agostini if she wanted to make a Motion with more detail, apparently forgetting that she already had made a motion. Then the superintendent wanted to buy more time (delay).

Then Manning incorrectly claimed privilege as Board Chair and decided Agostini's request would not be on the next agenda, and he never asked for a Second, Discussion or a Vote.

Manning asked Agostini to put her request in writing. Agostini said that every time she had done that, her request had been denied. 

Agostini did it correctly. Make a Motion. Then there should be a second, discussion and a vote; even if it fails, it's on the record. If the Chair attempted to cut it off, any other Board member should have objected. Even McKie, Holmes (Vice Chair), Caution-Parker (Board Secretary), or McFadden, the newest member of the board. And then responsibility (blame) can be assigned to those sticking their heads in the sand. 

So Agostini's Motion is still pending, and the Board ought to still be sitting in that room.