Note: These minutes should be considered preliminary until they are approved at the next Policy and Amendments Committee meeting.
Windham Southeast Supervisory District (WSESD) Board
Policy and Amendment Committee
May 22, 2023
Hybrid meeting WSESU Central Office, 53 Green St., Brattleboro, VT and remotely via Zoom
Members attending: Deborah Stanford (DST, Chair), Tim Maciel ™, Eva Nolan (EN, via
Zoom), Anne Beekman (AB)
Guests attending: Ruby McAdoo (RM), Mark Speno (MS), Jaime Contois (JC, via Zoom), David
Schoales (DS), Liz Adams (LA), Keith Lyman (KL), Mo Hart (MH), Kaiya Colby (KC)
DST convened the meeting at 2:30 pm and read hybrid statement.
Minutes of 05.08.23 meeting approved.
DST discussed how new policies should come to the committee.
They should come directly from the community to the P&A Committee.
Only time a new or revised policy goes to the full Board for discussion is when it is ready for 1st or 2nd reading for readoption.
All policies up for readoption need to be warned.
Policies are under constant scrutiny and may be revised at any time the P&A Committee decides they should be reviewed.
DST announced the need for a scribe and said one should be in place for the next meeting.
H1: Leadership Councils
04.11.23 email from Attorney Sean Toohey was nebulous. He stated that there was no law that says LCs should be recorded and posted, but if that has been the practice, it should be continued.
Legal advice seems to go beyond LC recordings, e.g. WRCC does not have Zoom hybrid meetings.
We should focus on improving connections and communication between the Board and LCs, not adding a layer of complexity for the LCs to operate.
Posting videos of LCs shows transparency. Hypocritical for LCs to demand transparency from
the Board, but not for themselves.
The argument that video recording of LC meetings might make community members uncomfortable to speak candidly is weak. Anything said at an LC should hold up to public scrutiny or not be said at all.
Argument that the District does not have the bandwidth to support posting of recordings is also weak. We can purchase more bandwidth.
The District’s own lawyer has written that “The law does not say you have to post it.” But he also says that the District should follow past practices.
Recommendation to leave the decision of posting recordings or not up to the Chair of the LC and the principal. Counterargument: we need to be consistent.
KL: Brought the issue up at BAMS and LC generally against posting recordings.
Legal advice always depends on how a question is posed, but in the end, it is up to the Board or the committee to decide. Recommendation to take a cautious route and let the LCs develop for a year without recording and posting and reevaluate after a year. LCs should strengthen bond between Board and schools, not add tension. At same time, recordings allow parents who cannot attend LC meetings to catch up.
MH: If posted, should be posted on school site as well as SU website.
Noted that all LC members may need to have WSESD email addresses.
The P&A Committee agreed to the following amendments to the LC policy: (Move to line below “Annually, each Leadership Council shall develop and approve a Code of Ethics). The District recognizes its responsibility to record and post video recordings accurately reflect minutes of meetings within 5 days of Leadership Council Meetings (remote and hybrid). In the interest of increased transparency and participation, it is encouraged that Leadership Councils explore the posting of video and audio recordings that would be accessible on school websites and subpages of the WSESD Board Meeting website. The status of video recording will be revisited during the 2023-2024 school year.”
D1: Personnel Recruitment, Selection, Appointment and Background Checks.
Board members are appointed to screening committees for high level administrative positions.