I attended the Board of Education’s Reorganization Meeting last night…It was a little weird to be sitting there in the audience. I wanted to show my support for the new Board and to wish them well in the new year. Michele Lenhard and Bob Hutton were returned to their offices of President and Vice President, and Michele read a resolution thanking me for my service to the Board. That was really nice and sort of awkward for me to sit there listening to the list things I had contributed to the BOE. They gave me a beautiful orchid and a framed copy of the resolution.
I had planned to just stay for part of the meeting, but decided to stick around for the full experience. A couple highlights for me:
Sheila Brogan suggested that the Board look at its process for public comment, to see if there might be some changes that could be made to make it more inviting and more productive. She mentioned the feeling residents and audience members get when they hear questions asked at the microphone, but don’t ever hear the answers, even if those answers are sent directly to the speaker at a later date. I’m glad to hear that the Board will be taking this up, perhaps over the summer. I have to point out that most of what Sheila said are things I said at my first BOE “retreat” meeting in April 2008 and again in 2009. But whatever, better late than never. I’m just glad they’ll be looking at it again. Change really does take time, doesn’t it?
Bob Hutton said he wants to invite all “no” voters (and even “yes” voters) to come talk about the school budget, share concerns and ideas for what changes they’d like to see, that might influence their support in the future. I think this is an awesome idea…I hope they’ll be able to get the message out. The challenge is always in communicating with those taxpayers who don’t have children in the schools. I hope there will be a mailing to taxpayers or some other way to get the word out…and I hope those of you reading this will pass the word along.
Two meetings will be scheduled. The first session has already been set for Monday May 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ed Center. BOE Finance Committee members Michele Lenhard and Bob Hutton will attend, along with Business Administrator Angelo DeSimone. I’m going to try and make it, but might have to wait for the next meeting. Please attend – especially if you want to tell the Board what’s wrong with the current budget.
Those were my main take-aways from last night’s meeting. I don’t know how often I’ll attend in person. I’ll probably watch the streaming webcast online. When (if) the Village ever gets the Verizon FIOS hook-up for community access broadcasts, I’ll watch on my TV, too. (Supposedly this is still inching forward.)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org