Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Watch how a board meeting should NOT be run

Be sure to watch the recorded Livestream of the February 8, 2021 school board meeting. I bailed at 6:53PM, totally fed up. I do not understand why most of the board members put up with what was going on. By about Thursday (Feb. 11) you should be able to view this meeting at www.livestream.com/richland2

Notice the plastic shields on each board member's table. What a waste! They are already wearing masks and practicing social distancing. I would have knocked that dumb shield off my desk, had I been a board member.

The meeting began its decline at 6:04PM, when the Chair called on (trustee-elect) McKie to introduce the Inspirational Moment. The best intro would have been, "The Inspiration Moment will be given by Mrs. Helen Grant."

What actually happened? McKie, as usual, was long-winded and blathered on and on. The only worthwhile part was to explain that Mrs. Grant has a law degree. Who has ever heard of a lawyer being addressed as "Dr. (Grant)". She is Mrs. Grant. I anticipated that the introduction was going to be longer than the actual Inspirational Moment. But Mrs. Grant proved me wrong.

Tonight's Inspirational Moment was eight minutes long! It should have been 2-3 minutes. I'm sure Mrs. Grant cares about her family history, all the way back to 1865, but I doubt that anyone else does. She mentioned Black History Month several times (of course) and "enslavement of black people" and that she is only three generations from slavery.

When Board business moved on, the superintendent butted in and slammed Trustee Agostini. The Chair should have stopped him, not only at this time but later in the meeting, when he became defensive. The superintendent "schooled" Mrs. Agostini on "dysfunction" and "lack of civility".

The superintendent is NOT a board member, yet his seat is in the corner of the seating, establishing him in a superior role. Chair Manning should be at the corner, where he can see everyone. 

After Agostini spoke again, the superintendent butted in again. Robert's Rules of Order dictate that he is to get permission of the Chair to speak. He seldom does.

Once the superintendent starts, he quickly gets on a roll. Never at a loss for words, he can say in 500 words what could be said in 25. But the Chair won't cut him off.

The Chair and the superintendent were flat wrong when they commented on the authority of the Board to get an item considered for an agenda for the next meeting. They are excellent at confusing everyone, and the board falls for it. 

The superintendent rambled on and on about how the board can get an item on the agenda,. But just a couple of weeks ago Agostini tried. She made a motion. Discussion commenced without a second, and eventually the Chair ruled that he could decide not to put it on the agenda. He was wrong.

It's almost like a tag-team match when a board member brings up something. The Chair and the superintendent beat down discussion. After a motion, the correct next step is a second. Then there is discussion - without the superintendent! The Board Discusses! Each member should have a say, before a member gets a second say. 

The discussion of the lawsuit about Jools and vaping was a fiasco. The superintendent felt bruised, slighted, his integrity questioned, his honesty, his word, all because a board member said she had not heard any data about Richland 2 students who are vaping.

Who cares if he feels slighted. That's what he gets the big bucks for. 

The motion to support a class-action lawsuit failed. The vote was 3-3. Holmes was absent. The next words out of the superintendent's mouth were that he would, in effect, bring it up again. He does not like to lose. The board decided. His job is to suck it up and move on. (The next time it comes up, Holmes will be there, and the vote will be 4-3. The board made a decision and should refuse to consider it again.) But Manning and the superintendent will put it back on an agenda. Watch for it.

I bailed out when superintendent highlights started. I'd had enough.