Where is the right place? And... When is the right time?

Cheryl Burge, a parent, addressed the board last night regarding the difficult time she had trying to get any useful information from the district's website. She also complained about receiving robo-calls about important events only a couple days before the event. I want to thank Cheryl for expressing concerns about something I've been trying to address for three years now. All of us parents know how difficult it is to find out what is happening in the district from the district's website. Now the board knows I'm not the only one feeling this way.

I am encouraged by one thing I saw last night. It seems more parents are making an effort to attend board meetings. This is the third meeting in a row where I've noticed more than a few other parents in the room. I hope the board and the administration will capitalize on this momentum and encourage more parents to take an interest in what is happening in their district.

Beaumont Teachers Association President Trina Brown made some interesting comments. It appears from what she was saying, that the process open for teachers to address concerns regarding school site environments, specifically how principals interact with teachers, has recently changed. The changes leave teachers with no venue, other than filing legal complaints, to express their concerns. We heard a similar comment from another teacher at the last meeting regarding her complaints about Dr. Kayrell's actions during a committee meeting.

Later in the meeting, Board member Mrs. Lara expressed her disappointment with people attacking the superintendent and cabinet members in the last meeting. She doesn't believe the board meeting is an appropriate place for this. I ask, then Where is the right place? And... When is the right time? I don't believe Mrs. Lara was referring to my interaction with Mrs. Kakish since Mrs. Lara had left by that time.

Several meetings ago, I brought my concerns about Mrs. Kakish's handling of the kindergarten class sizes to the board and asked the board to provide some oversight. Nothing was done. The next meeting I asked for a future agenda item. The following meeting we received a report from the person I was asking to be investigated, Mrs. Kakish. During the board meeting I was able to question her about the accuracy of her report and conflicting statements she had made in earlier meetings. 

I disagree with Mrs. Lara's opinion. The board meeting is the only opportunity I have as a parent to question the actions of the board, the administration, or the cabinet. My recent actions regarding Mrs. Kakish over the kindergarten class sizes is a good example of why board meetings are the right place and the right time.

We also heard from Trina Brown last night about the district receiving money from the federal government; I think she said it was more than a million dollars. We learned that since the district had no plans right now for the money it was being moved to the "books and supplies" account as a holding account. She went on to claim there is more than $16,000,000 in reserve. She asked the same question I wanted to ask, why not bring back the $50,000 a year GATE program?

Last night highlighted several of the problems the administration is creating because of their closed and non-transparent culture. Why the administration doesn't want to build an open, transparent collaborative partnership with parents and teachers continues to perplex me. I think it is too simple to say they don't want parents to get involved. Their actions are motivating more parents to get involved in an adversarial way. Why not increase parent involvement in a way that helps the administration?