Friday, September 10, 2021

R2 Changes Sign-up Times

Reason has suddenly struck the Richland 2 school district. Imagine that.

After last meeting's fiasco of requiring those wishing to speak during Public Participation to sign in at least 45 minues before the start of the 6:30PM public session (after the executive session), the district is announcing a new sign-up time for those wishing to speak at the September 14th meeting.

Now you just have to arrive more than 15 minutes ahead of time. In other words, if you wish to speak, arrive and sign up between 5:30PM-6:15PM. 

The first ten people to sign up will get their chances to tell the board just how they feel about issues and problems in Richland 2. Five are allowed to speak (for up to 3 minutes each) during the first segment, and the second five during the second segment. In practice, I've been told that all the speakers might be allowed to speak during the first segment, eliminating the need by the second five to twiddle their thumbs and bide their time through the entire meeting.

The board could use some serious coaching on how to run an effective board meeting. The dog-and-pony shows organized by the superintendent are far too long. The board should receive all the necessary information in advance of meetings. Then staff should summarize their reports and answer questions from board members.

It's unknown how many board members actually read the board packets. From some of the questions being asked, it's clear that some of the board members do not read their packets. And from the complete absence of correction or additions to Minutes, I wonder whether any board members read the Minutes of the previous meeting.

The board members are decision-makers and more of them should act like it. That means, read and understand what's in the meeting packet. Ask intelligent questions. Don't just sit there like bumps on a log. Board business could be conducted in 90 minutes tops.

Start with cutting back the Inspirational Moment. The introduction should not exceed 30 seconds, and the "Moment" should be limited to 2-3 minutes. The board chair can the person giving the Moment and move right on.

Public Participation can move more quickly by announcing the name of the next speaker and "followed by (the names of the next two speakers)". They should line up, be ready to advance and make their remarks. As a speaker finishes, the board chair should say, "the next speaker is ____, followed by ___ and ___." The name of the speaker is important; the person speaking often does not identify himself.