Sunday, 30 August, 2009 1:09PM
I have just read your memo dated (actually it is not dated) entitled “Proposed Changes to Rules of the Board of Education”.
My first reaction was that after the controversy caused by the Board’s action on Tuesday and the possible legal ramifications of that, let’s find another way to alienate and disenfranchise the people who elected us to office – not only is the Board abdicating some of its responsibilities to external operators, now the Board wants to eliminate its committee structure which is its only opportunity to ensure some degree of transparency and accountability of the takeover process and operations. Your opening paragraphs state…
As the Los Angeles Unified School District strives to absorb significant budget cuts, the Board of Education—together with the rest of the District—must increase the efficiency of its operations. At the same time, as the public governance body for the District, the Board must fully maintain its commitment to transparency and inclusiveness.
Below please find several recommendations to streamline Board operations. The proposals were designed to maximize efficiency, transparency, and inclusiveness. These changes would apply to the 2009-10 School Year only, and would be subject to evaluation and revision in the following years. The “Rationale” and “Challenges” represent my own best thinking; the “Legal Implications” were provided in a memo from the Office of the General Counsel (attached). This memo is intended as a springboard for discussion and action by the full Board of Education.”
I think your recommendations are the antithesis of reasons why our constituents elected us to represent them on the Board and do the opposite to “maintain its commitment to transparency and inclusiveness.” Small school districts have difficulty being transparent with a single monthly meeting. The sheer volume and magnitude of this District dictate more than a single meeting if transparency is really the goal.
Rather than eliminating the committee structure, may I suggest the Board’s consideration of the following:
1-Because the current structure provides our stakeholders access and fosters real inclusion through their participation, input, and involvement and negates some of the charges of exclusivity that are often lodged against the Board, assemble a representative group of all stakeholders to review, refine, and streamline committees for the 09-10 school year. Results
to be presented in thirty days and during the interim, committees that are currently on the books operate so that the business of the District is handled properly. We are beginning the third month of this fiscal year and we still are not organized as a “full seven-member Board.”
2-The accompanying legal opinion indicates this should be discussed openly at a regular meeting.
The Special Meeting on Tuesday is not a regular meeting and because this is so serious and important to our constituents, I suggest we not take action on this under the cover of dark, but at a regularly scheduled televised meeting for full transparency. Like special interests, our constituents deserve some consideration, also.
3-As I stated earlier, there is no date on the proposed recommendations, but at the latest, is was publicized last Thursday, which gives Board members (who were not privileged to it earlier per our conversation last Wednesday) and constituents one working day to prepare any type of response or plan to be at a Tuesday meeting. (Monday is Admissions Day, a holiday.) For this reason, coupled with the rationale given in Bullet 2 above, it would behoove this Board to postpone this discussion.
Personally, just like the Mayor predicted the votes on his Resolution, I feel that it is a foregone conclusion that the same is true for this action, I felt compelled to at least make this appeal on behalf of parity for the hundreds of thousands of constituents who still have some trust and hope in our efforts as public servants – some of whom I have taken the liberty to copy on this e-mail.
I await your response.