School board changes took planning

Transparency policy long planned move, says board  

 

 

Although it coincided with the first meeting led by new Granville Board of Education President John Steves, school officials said the move towards increased transparency had been in the planning stages for some time.  

“We worked on that for more than a year” Steves said later. “I didn’t do a very good job at the board meeting. I was concerned with running the meeting I should have gotten more information to (the press) about what we were trying to do,” he said.   

Steves said he was unhappy with himself the changes appeared to be sweeping changes he made after gaining the board presidency.

“I wish I’d said more during the meeting that this was a group thing that we’re trying to present to the public about being more open,” he said.  

Superintendent Mark Bessen said the impetus to start towards a new way of conducting the meetings had come from a number of places, including his own office.

“What wasn’t known was there was a full process behind this,” Bessen said.

“When I came in, I saw how the meetings had been conducted and knew that had to change,” he said. Even prior to his hiring, Bessen said interim Superintendent Greg Aidala noted issues with the way the board meetings were being conducted.

Steves said it was a case of all of the board members being comfortable with a way of conducting meetings which had been taking place for many years. 

Since that time board members have been attending workshops and seminars as well as meeting with New York State open government expert Robert Freeman about how to conduct a meeting that is transparent to the public and protects employees and student’s rights at the same time.  

The process involved training that is ongoing, Steves said.  

“It wasn’t like a switch was turned and something happened overnight. All nine board members were involved, it was really a team effort it’s the whole board working together for the good of the community and the good of the children,” Bessen said.

Long time president now vice president Kathy Nelson said the new way of running a meeting is just that, new, to the members so they’re still getting used to the process, particularly when it comes to confidential matters and deciding what becomes public and what has to remain private.

“We still have things we have to do confidentially we’re trying to figure out how to do that and be open,” Nelson said.  

“We don’t want to stifle discussion, but you need to have discussion to make decisions. In order to have that discussion we had to figure out how to do that within the realm of the open meetings laws,” she said.  

 

 

 

 

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , ,

Probe supports Torres’ firing

football-2

By Krystle S. Morey An investigation by the Granville Central School District that led to the firing of varsity football […]

Granville begins superintendent search

Only three board members showed up to last week's meeting, which is not enough to hold a meeting.

By Krystle S. Morey The Granville Board of Education has started its search for a new superintendent as the district’s […]

Whitehall Fire Co. seeks new contract

Smith Street Fire

By Dan King Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company is looking for a three-year fire protection contract that would increase its budget […]

Chief eyes expansion of shared police services

ErnieBassett2

By Dan King and Krystle S. Morey It’s been a year since the Granville and Whitehall police departments have shared […]

Classifieds 09/28/16

Weekender – 09/23/16

Lakes Region Freepress – 09/23/16

Northshire Freepress – 09/23/16

North Country Freepress – 09/23/16

Lakes Classifieds – 09/23/16

Torres fired, other coaches resign

mario-torres

By Krystle S. Morey An incident involving a cover-up of Granville football players smoking marijuana on school property has led […]

Sasquatch calling festival Saturday

Bigfoot 1

By Dan King You’ve heard of hog-calling contests at county fairs, but Whitehallers will be calling a much more exotic […]