Friday, June 18, 2021

Special-Called Meeting - sound issues!

When I attempted to listen to the recorded version of the June 17, 2021 Special-Called Board Meeting, there was no sound!

For the first 23 minutes the screen shot was displayed that the board was still in executive session. The opening remarks of the public meeting at 5:30PM were not recorded.

The public meeting starts AT 5:30PM, and that's when the recording, including sound, should begin. Recently, important remarks were made during that portion of the open meeting, preceding the executive session. The public is entitled to hear (and see) everything!

At 23:19 of last night's meeting the open meeting began recording. without any sound. I skipped forward at short intervals, and there was no sound - ever. I wondered whether it could have been my computer, so I re-booted. More than once. 

This morning I checked again. The splash page for the executive session is still there. Video recording begins with the board members at their seats, waiting for the beginning of the meeting. Supt. Davis takes his seat at 23:26. There is no sound. Chairman Manning appears to be speaking, and then there is a hand vote on something - probably the opening of the meeting. Trustee Agostini votes No on something by raising her hand.

It's hard to read lips when they are still wearing their masks.

Shortly after that there is another hand vote. Still no sound.

I was told previously that staff monitors the audio and video. Where was the staff last night? Why didn't the meeting stop until the sound issue was resolved. The public is entitled to hear what is said, when meetings are livestreamed!

This morning, sound begins at 30:03. Then at 31:12 Chairman Manning pauses the meeting while a livestream sound issue is worked on. 

During Dr. Miley's budget presentation Teresa Holmes interrupted (34:09) with a comment to re-state what Dr. Miley had just said. She must have wanted a sound bite for a future campaign, because her comment was otherwise totally worthless. Dr. Miley had just made the statement. Holmes did not need to re-state it. Most of the other trustees had their board packets, notebooks, pads for notes, etc. on their desks. Holmes did not. All she had on her desk were her phone, water bottle, water cup and elbows. She must have a phenomenal memory for detail on complicated issues like budgets.

A potential increase in the SRO contract with the sheriff's department has been budgeted, but Dr.Miley did not mention the amount of the current contract or the increase. Residents should be especially interested in the cost of having SROs in Richland 2 schools. How much does it cost to have a cop in a school? Any guesses? Personally, I feel only the law-enforcement aspect aspect is the only worthwhile benefit; i.e., having a cop on hand to handle cop stuff. Having them present as Officer Feel-Good is a terrible waste of money. SROs are not instructional staff. They should be friendly, but they aren't your "friends." 

A lower-step teacher with a B.A. can earn up to $41,000/year. Dr. Miley talked about being competitive. Is Richland 2 a leader in the competitive world of education or trying to catch up? It's easy to spend other peoples' money - the taxpayers'. Should the hiring goal be to find the best you can afford, or to raise taxes so that you can afford those who want more pay?

Dr. Scott (f/m/a Elkins) asked a line-item question. Note again. Holmes had NO materials in front of her. Did she have the proposed budget committed to memory? Where was Trustee Caution-Parker? Did anyone hear her comment or ask questions? Without a roll call taken at the beginning of the meeting, who knows if she was there? 

Dr. Miley spent some time talking about "needs and wants" of the District and then referred to surpluses. Remember how recently the District just couldn't wait to spend half its surplus and paid out bonuses to teachers and staff? Yippee, Free Money. And now it's gone, and they are hunting around for money for the "needs and wants". Why didn't the District hang onto that money then?

This is one of the problems with having so many feel-good trustees on the school board and too few trustees with solid foundations in business and finance!!!

If there were a transcript of that special-called meeting and then someone went through it with a big red marker, what would be left? Knock out all the drivel and blabber, and cut to the chase. It's M-O-N-E-Y. Other Peoples' Money. OPM. The School Board, just like Congress and State Legislature, doesn't feel any pain when spending your money and asking for more. Does it?

At the end of the meeting, Caution-Parker seconded the motion to adjourn. Wonderful!