THE HUNTER REPORT
LOUDON COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD - MUZZLING CITIZENS
BY: PAT HUNTER
At the Dec. 13, 2012 policy committee meeting, numerous recommendations were approved, which create obstacles and discourage citizen participation.
Chairman Ric Best, Gary Ubben and Kenny Ridings discussed non-agenda citizen comments. Individuals must divulge non-agenda topics subject to chairman approval, which the board may overrule. Why open Pandoraís Box to censorship issues? Five- minute time constraints per person with 30-minute overall speaking limitations at board and workshops.
On Nov. 13, 2008, the board voted unanimously to allow the public to speak on non-agenda items, bottom of the agenda (Policy 1.403-Agendas). Moreover, at the April 15, 2010 meeting, the board voted to add matters on and not on the agenda, at the start and end of meetings. However, at the Sept. 6, 2012 workshop, director Jason Vance announced procedural changes not previously approved by the board. Citizen non-agenda comments would not be allowed at board meetings. Citizen non-agenda matters would be limited to the end of workshops.
Unbeknownst to the public and not on the planned agenda, Chairman Best proposed one camera per person, and camera placement at the discretion of director or chairman. Ubben motioned cameras be allowed with Bestís camera placement verbiage. Politicians shouldn't be afraid of being recorded during public meetings. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Sixty-nine percent ($1.22) of the county tax rate ($1.78) is for education. Education debt obligations include sixty million plus interest, and another eleven million plus request, pending commission approval.
The board advocates taxing authority while muzzling the public. Accountability and transparency seem of little concern to some who do not wish to hear citizens; voters beware.
The board will soon vote on the policy recommendations and must decide whatís more important, open communication or business as usual and taking the public out of public education!
LETTERS TO EDITOR pdf - AS APPEARS IN THE JAN 9-10, 2013 NEWS HERALD - SUBJECT TO EDITING
(NOTE: UNSPECIFIED POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS ARE SHOWN ON THE WORKSHOP AGENDA BUT NOT ON THE MAIN BOARD AGENDA. THE SCHOOL BOARD INFORMATIONAL PACKET WAS NOT READY FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION AT NOON MONDAY JAN 7, 2013 - ONCE AGAIN THE SCHOOL BOARD ISN'T FOLLOWING THEIR OWN POLICIES. )