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home : latest news : local November 24, 2015

12/4/2013 9:40:00 AM
School board rates itself on performance
Trib file graphic
Trib file graphic

Sue Tone

The Humboldt Unified School District Governing Board discussed its annual self-evaluation at the Nov. 26 special meeting covering for discussion only the items in which it found disparity or low ratings among the answers.

Public participation - or lack thereof - was marked less than mid range (3 on a 5-category scale) in several categories.

"I'd love to see the room filled every meeting," said board member Brian Letendre. "It's another way the public can give feedback."

The board tried different time frames for its public participation process several years ago, even considering rejecting the opportunity for the public to comment during meetings. Currently, public participation is scheduled near the beginning of the meeting with a five-minute limit on individuals and a 30-minute total time period.

Board Vice-President Carm Staker said the lack of public comments could be because of the meeting time.

"Evening meetings are tough for older people who have difficulty driving at night," she said. "But evening meetings are good for people who work."

Those who request time to speak to the board must fill out a yellow public participation card that asks their name, phone number, street address, email address, and subject or item. The contact information is important because board members are not allowed to respond to any matters not on the agenda.

"It's so we can follow-up with answers. We need to know the contact information," said Supt. Paul Stanton.

The board president usually reads the public participation announcement at the meetings and asks if anyone wishes to speak.

Part of the announcement reads, "Members of the Board may not discuss items that are not specifically on the agenda. Therefore, pursuant to ARS 38-431.01(H), action taken as a result of public comment will be limited to directing staff to study the matter, responding to any criticism, or scheduling the matter for further consideration and decision at a later time."

Stanton said some districts have "universities" where parents and the community attend "classes" that cover school finances, services, transportation, and communications. The district is working on a speaker's bureau to offer the information directly to groups.

"Maybe people don't know they can speak at a board meeting," board member Suzie Roth said, adding that a link on the district's website might be helpful.

Board members scored themselves above average in most categories. They suggested a time for relationship building as part of the board retreat. With the exception of the public participation discussion, the scores were high on Meetings of the Board, and the School External Relations and Communications sections.

They would like to see parents and students more involved in the development of board goals, as well as involvement by service organizations, community and business groups.

The board has four goals: To raise the level of student achievement, to focus on planning for future student needs, to increase parental and community involvement, and to attract and retain highly effective employees.

To no surprise, "financial issues," "budget" and "staff salaries and benefits" appeared on the list of the three most important issues facing the district during the next six months and in the next 6-24 months.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: Where do they live and pay taxes?

top decision makers live in Phoenix, Prescott, Verde valley,Prescott, Glendale, Verde valley, They do not pay taxes here! Board member sends child to Charter? There is no credibility. You seem to be trying and I thank You. Good Luck, but who are these people?

Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Article comment by: Brian Letendre

I am writing this as a citizen, for clarification, but am a current HUSD board member.

Please clarify your comment. I have been on the board over a year now and have not seen this "outside management team" you refer to. As stated in the article, I encourage public participation so in that effort, please email me, Not anonymously.
Brian.Letendre@humboldtunified.com and I would love to hear your ideas.

If you mean our staff as a management team, then yes, but that is the function of the board. Email me so we can talk.

By the way, this applies to anyone willing to have an open honest conversation.

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Article comment by: The Board was Rated in the last election,,People said NO!

2 to 1 was the vote against the Board's tax increase. I watched citizens try to talk to the Board through the years-----waste of time. Make changes, you have an outside management team and everyone knows it. Nothing but politcal wantabees.

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