Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December Meeting 2007

The final meeting of 2007 for the Swanton Board of Education was held December 17th. Ms. Cathy Cline was not in attendance, so she missed out on the words of thanks from fellow board members directed toward her and Mr. Green, who is retiring from the Board. In recognition of their service to the community, two large posters (created by students) hung on the wall and there was a cake! In addition, a beautiful glass gift was presented to them, with each of the schools etched on the surface - very nice.

I was surprised that the meeting did not begin on time. I arrived at ten minutes before seven, and was annoyed with myself for "rushing in" so late - but the meeting did not begin until some twenty minutes later. I'm not sure if this is normal or not. Time will tell.

At one point, Mr. Green welcomed me as a new board member, and asked if I had anything to say to those in attendance. I had not expected to be asked to speak, and I'm sure I sounded like a dolt. I'll be ready in the future!

One of the first items of business was to give recognition to two former students who had helped on the most recent yearbook. I learned that this is a standard part of board meetings which is confusing to me. Why do we recognize student achievements at school board meetings instead of at school assemblies in front of their peers? How special is it for the student to receive their certificate in front of their parents and a handful of others, versus in front of the entire student body? From my perspective it makes more sense to have the superintendent and a representative of the board go to the school itself and present the award/certificate to the student at a regularly scheduled assembly. That would have a far greater impact for the student, don't you think? But no one asked my opinion . . . I'll have to share it in January.

The board went into executive session for over an hour. Most in the audience took advantage of that time to have a piece of cake (thanks, Chris Wood!). It was a long wait.

An eye-opening discussion was part of the meeting that night, concerning the relationship between the school district and the Swanton Park & Recreation board. I will write about that in another post, as I want to be sure I have the numbers straight.

The board was informed by the treasurer that, if they wanted to have an issue or levy on the March ballot, state regulations required the decision and paperwork to be filed with the county auditor no later than December 20th. After a little discussion between board members, it was decided NOT to have an issue/levy on the ballot in March.

Although a special election could be called in mid-summer if necessary, those are costly to do for the district and are usually avoided because of that. Most likely the next levy will be on the November 2008 ballot.

A few other items were discussed, and then the board retired to a final executive session to discuss the treasurer's contract. Most everyone left at that point - it was 10:30 p.m. and a nasty night to be on the roads.

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