Dear Board Officers:
Attached is a picture of our Board of Education website at 11:54 a.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2019. No meeting is listed and no documents are available for viewing. On the Calendar, however, it did state that a Special Meeting would take place at 4:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
Sometime after 11:54 a.m. Thursday morning, resolutions on various issues, including principal appointments, were uploaded to the Board website together with an Agenda.
Section II of the Agenda was entitled, “Speakers Addressing an Agenda Item.” In order to address an Agenda Item, one must follow the procedure outlined on the Board’s page:
All meetings are open to the public and a portion of each agenda is set aside for speakers. To address the Board, call the Board of Education office at (585) 262-8525 by noon on the day of the meeting at which you wish to speak.
Please explain how the public could call in by noon to speak to an item in any of the resolutions when no resolution or Agenda was present as late as 11:54 a.m. Thursday morning?
Since the Board has legal counsel, this maneuver may not be considered to be illegal, but it certainly is unprincipled. I declined the invitation to attend the Special Meeting as I will not participate in meetings where the very persons who elected us to office are barred from an opportunity to express any concerns they may have in regard to the actions proposed in resolutions being considered by the Board.
As you are aware, this meeting was initially scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, 2019. I asked if the Wednesday meeting had been properly noticed. The Wednesday meeting was then canceled and moved to Thursday, June 6, 2019. I had also asked if any resolutions being considered would be uploaded to the Board website for viewing by the public. I was surprised when I went to the site Thursday morning and discovered no Agenda and no documents as late as 11:54 a.m. If a member of the community had wished to speak to an item, they first would have to know a meeting was taking place, would have to read the resolutions and would have to call into the Board Office to request to speak. Is it expected that the community could do this all in less than six minutes?
I continue to be concerned about maneuvers that bar the public from exercising their agency. I also continue to be concerned about the expectations for Board Members to be available at a moment's notice for Special Meetings with no agenda stated. These practices must end.
I recommend that any decision made on Thursday, June 6, 2019 be rescinded and that the community be given ample opportunity to call the Board Office should they wish to speak to any Item in the resolutions posted Thursday.
To the public, I recommend that you ask yourselves three questions:
1. Is there something in the resolutions of June 6th that the Board wished to pass through without any public scrutiny?
2. Who voted to pass the resolutions knowing the public did not have time to exercise their agency in the form of speaking to an Agenda item?
3. How many resolutions are in effect right now from the last ten years that were never scrutinized by the public?
Very truly yours,
Judith Davis, Commissioner
Commissioner Judith Davis
131 West Broad Street
Rochester, NY 14614
(585) 262-8525 (phone)
(585) 262-8381 (fax)