Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Joplin Schools Watch launches petition to improve access to board meetings

(From Aug 2, 2013) The high school students running the Joplin Schools Watch blog have launched an online petition demanding that the Joplin R-8 Board of Education change its requirements for the public to address the board.

Beginning with the first year of the C. J. Huff administration, the board has severely limited public access to the agenda. Those who wish to address the board are only allowed to address topics that are already on the agenda and up for vote.

That, combined with the board's apparent view, expressed after last month's retreat, that it was going to try to leave dealing with the public to the administration, has virtually denied the public access to their elected representatives.

The petition reads as follows:

The Joplin R8 Board of Education currently requires the public to submit written requests in order to give their opinions in front of the board. All opinions must pertain to items on the agenda which require a board vote.

This process undermines Board transparency and public opinion. By creating barriers for the public to address the board, taxpayer concerns are shutout. We request that the R8 Board of Education remove their requirements to address the board and seek public opinion on a new policy.

As I noted in the July 21 Turner Report, denying the public access to the Board of Education has been one way in which administration has been able to control the message and almost completely eliminate the possibility that the board will ever hear any dissenting point of view.

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