Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

Public Meetings (again)

Reminder for those who missed my posts and the public comments on this blog regarding Board of Ed meetings. A member of the community complained to me today that the meeting last week (with the line-by-line budget review) was so boring, and couldn't we do more to jazz it up for the audience.

I'd like to explain again, because the public often has an incorrect expectation about these meetings. Here's the thing: the BOE meetings are meetings of the Board in public, they are not public Board meetings. Huh? What that means is: the purpose of our meetings is for the Board to conduct business. Often that business is "boring." Oh well. The Board meetings are not presentations to the public. They are not open forums. They aren't town halls. And they aren't entertainment (that's for sure!). Seriously, you are all welcome to attend the meetings and watch us "meet," but we are not there to present to you. I don't mean this with any disrespect -- I respect everyone who makes the effort to come to the meeting and I truly appreciate your input during the Public Comment portion of the meeting.

And that's another important point -- public comment is just that: comment. It's not a dialogue, not a conversation. Questions will rarely be answered on the spot. Instead, Dr. Fishbein or Mr. Vallerini (Board president) will usually answer the person who asked directly, via email, phone call or letter, after the meeting.

Now don't get all riled up -- I personally think we should have more dialogue and more conversation and more questions-and-answers. But it's not going to be at our Board meetings, and it shouldn't be. Those agendas are long enough, and we have to get through all that business.

The first-ever open forum we held on March 3 was a good start, don't you think? Change takes time. I wish more people had attended the forum, but I think it went well enough that we'll hopefully schedule more in the future. That's my goal, at least.

No comments: