An email from former and just defeated Prairie Grove School District 46 Board member Laura Domoto about the Tuesday, May 14th, Board meeting.
Your child’s education and programming at Prairie Grove Schools are being threatened.
The newly elected board wants to revisit many items that were studied and voted on previously by your board of education.
Things are definitely in jeopardy. If you want to save our school we need your HELP NOW.
Please show up and address the board on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 7pm. [See below for restrictive instructions.]
You cannot sit back and watch our school district spiral down in failure. It is time for you to take action now.
We know what has happened out our neighboring school in Cary and we cannot let that happen here at Prairie Grove.
Attached you will find the agenda for Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Board of Education Meeting.
PLEASE come. You have 3 minutes to speak, and no one can be denied the opportunity to do so. Please speak for the 3 minutes and say what you think. This is a very important day.
PLEASE forward to you friends and if you have questions please feel free to contact me or other current or past board members.
I am going to be frank and not beat around the bush, this agenda is ludicrous.
The newly elected board members have put on the agenda the following items which should be of concern for you:
Visitors in the Lunchroom
We all know that what has happened in our country and Sandy Hook. It is the schools priority to provide a safe place for the students and staff.
Yes, we would love to spend time with our kids at lunch, but the safety of our children is of utmost importance.
Last year the district worked with area police departments to make sure our students were safe while we had two lock downs.
There also were other incidents where administrators had to step in to insure children’s safety.
The administration and past BOE eliminated visitors at lunch to protect our students, but now the new board wants to throw away that decision and make the school an unsafe place for our children.
Their recommendation does include limiting where visitors go, but in order to do so, the district would need to hire additional staff to monitor these visitors. Is this what we should be paying for?
This new JRHS master schedule has taken the administrative team a year of careful and meticulous research to make sure that the needs of our students are met as we change to ‘common core standards’ and while our enrollments are decreasing.
Many man hours were put into a well planned schedule for our students, and the administration has worked with teachers to set the staffing for next year.
A parent advisory group provided input, and there was a Board meeting that all district parents were invited to where the changes were discussed.
Teachers are working on next years plans, and in some cases have modified the topics they are covering this year to address the upcoming changes.
And now the newly elected board members are the education experts?
They feel that and a different approach should be taken, and that a new committee needs to be formed to address and evaluate this.
I guess if it isn’t the newly elected board members vision, it must be wrong.
I must also say that none of the new board members are certified teachers, or have PhD, or Master’s degrees in education.
One of the new Board members has been very vocal about her unhappiness with the District’s legal council during the teacher’s contract negotiations.
The lawyer was present, however, to protect the assets of the taxpayers.
The past board feels that there several occasions during negotiations where the law firm saved the district considerable money with their recommendations.
This board member stated that the money spent on legal fees should have instead been given to the teachers.
This board member has now decided that the firm that we had PRIOR to our current law firm, should be hired for a new ‘temporary’ appointment.
This is NOT in the best interest of our district, taxpayers, employees, or students.
We have a contract with the current law firm; they were chosen during a formal bid process.
With this firm our costs have been considerable lower FOR EACH OF THE PAST 4 YEARS than they were with that previous law firm (the one they are suggesting re-hiring!).
The proposal is to hire this law firm without going through a bidding process?
Have rates been determined?
AT WHAT COST TO THE TAXPAYERS?
Who negotiated those rates?
That SHOULD be the job of the Superintendent and Finance Director.
The agenda has a full page of directives for the Superintendent that have not been discussed in public with all the board members.
It is my belief that the new board members are trying to set up the Superintendent for failure, have no understanding that she has a job to do with the school, and are piling up numerous items at once, to make her fail.
The Superintendent has a contract that specifically lists her deliverables for the upcoming school year, so if she spends all her time on these new items, she will not be able to fulfill her contract.
Several years ago the Board changed committee meetings to be open Committee of the Whole events in the evening where anyone with an interest could voice an opinion.
The Board now wishes to go back to ‘closed committee’ meetings, where the members are appointed by the board and attendance is limited to ‘a chosen few’ attendees.
Finally, at the meeting it will be interesting to notice whether or not the 4 new members come to the meeting already having made decisions related to all of these new items.
If so, how was that done?
Board discussions of district issues need to take place in an open meetings setting; if not, it is a violation of the OPEN MEETINGS ACT.
These board members have not even been on the new board for 1 week and they are making substantial changes that would negatively impact our district and students.
They have not taken any training or learned about our policy and procedures.
They don’t have the slightest understanding of governance or the role of a board member, and they do not understand how a board is supposed to work collaboratively with the administration.
Over the past 10 years while I was on the board, our school’s financial status improved WHOLE our test scores and the quality of our education also increased.
These are all decisions and actions that the new board will try to take on Tuesday that will detrimentally affect our students and our taxpayers.
Please attend the meeting to voice your concerns so that the new board doesn’t start tearing away at all of the decisions that have generated these successes.
District 46 Board of Education Member 2003-2013
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The Board must want to discourage people from speaking in public comment, because it has the following rule listed at the bottom of its agenda:
“Any District resident may request time to speak to this Board by notifying Mary Sutfin, Recording Secretary of the Board of Education, prior to 4:00 P.M. on the Monday immediately preceding a regularly scheduled Board meeting or be heard by this Board at this time. The Board asks that comments are held to under 3 minutes and that no personnel names are mentioned and/or individuals by job title.”
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Here’s an article about the 2007 elections. Domnoto was Board President when she ran that year.
A teacher about to lose his job spoke to the new school board.
In 2009, the old Board renewed the Superintendent’s contract before the new Board was sworn in. Election results are shown.