Wednesday, December 29, 2010

School Board New Years Resolutions You Should --But WON'T-- See

Sun Prairie School Board New Year Resolutions for 2011 that SHOULD be made...but won't be.

#1.  Do away with the phrase, "All in favor say 'aye'....all opposed, same sign".
If you're opposed to something, why on earth would you say, "aye"?  This phrase dates back to the days when voting was done by raising one's in, "All in favor (raise your hand), All opposed, same sign".  Get it?

#2. Get better quality KSUN *live* feed of meetings.
Seriously...if you've ever watched one, the sound quality is horrendous, and the board members are washed ou (not that that is necessarily a bad thing).  Diedrich, in particular, looks ghostly (note, for the record, we did NOT say "ghastly").  May we recommend that the board bring in a small TV and actually watch one of their meetings as it airs?  What's really weird is that if you watch one of the DVDs produced, the quality is better.

#3.  Create a standing agenda item for "Items of business at next school board meeting".
Currently the board president sets the agenda (actually it's mainly set by administration).  The public should know, with more than 3 days notice, what is coming up.  The public should also have input in this process.  Let's make the whole agenda-setting process transparent, eh?  And it should be sequenced before "Consent" items in the agenda.  We'll even start you off with a suggestion: grade inflation.  Let's have a school board table discussion regarding the percentage of kids making the honor roll/perfect 4.0 and how realistic that percentage is.

#4. It's time to return King Culver to the cheap seats.
It's the BOARD table, and he's NOT a board member.  'Nuff said.  Many times Culver has even responded to citizens requesting a response from the BOARD.  He also uses his "Administrator's report" time to poke and jab at public commenters whose comments he doesn't care for.  Bad form!

#5. Reconsider seating at the "administrator" table.
Are we paying administrators to attend?  Giving them "comp" time?  We hope not...because there are a number of them that appear religiously yet never speak a word.  If they are just interested citizens, they too should be in the cheap seats.

#6.  At committee meetings, treat other school board members in attendance the same as any other citizen.
If you've attended one of these meetings, when the chair turns and asks the public for comments, they routinely call individual school board members in attendance FIRST and ask if THEY have any comments.  Excuse us!

#7.  Re-arrange the agenda.
The administrator's report frequently contains some notable news, but more often than not is composed of self-indulgent or "rah-rah" items.  Frankly, it's typically as interesting as week-old turkey tetrazzini.  OK, maybe that was a poor analogy, 'cause we've seen some interesting developments in week-old anything.    The administrator's report needs to be moved to the back of the bus, with "Board member reports".

#8.  Votes of abstention should be reserved for those situations where a board member has a direct or perceived conflict of interest in the subject at hand.
No more of this ridiculous, "How many Yes votes does it take? Oh...I abstain!" crap.  VERY poor form.

#9. Streamline the meetings.  
On any business item, the routine should be: 1.Once --not twice-- around the table.  2. Be brief with your comments, board members.  3. Ask for public input. 4. Bring it back to the board, but only ask for any final comments (raise hands), rather than going around the table again.

#10.  Stop the closed-door shenanigans.
Look...we KNOW that more goes on in closed board sessions than is legally allowed.  STOP IT!   You can't possibly think that you're so clever that we aren't aware of the violations occurring.  Hell, the whole public knew all the silliness that went on behind the scenes with the Pool Manager hiring.  Newsflash, Ms. can't change your vote once you've cast it in public session.