School Board Policy Changes Bring Conflict Among Board Members
Changes are on the way. The Alachua County School Board is making changes to policies that determine how they function. But some in the community oppose the changes. It also has school officials at odds with each other.
Changes to the policies many say are at one board member in particular. In her first term as an Alachua County School board member, former school teacher Eileen Roy has pushed for a lot of changes in how the schools are run. It has brought her praise from her constituents, but at times conflict with fellow board members. Now, at the center of controversy two policies the board wants to pass.
Every few years the board is expected to review hundreds of regulations that decide how your child's school is run but some think that there are too many rules.
"It's un-American in my opinion it's not the way democracy works and it's not the duty of the board to report another board member for violating policy," says Roy.
And the other issue concerns how board members will get their information. But Ginger Childs, the School Board Chair offered the majority opinion on the proposed policy change, "We're saying if somebody requested something to be created that's extremely lengthy time consuming or costly that it comes to the full board," says Childs.
Then a required vote will determine if the information can be had, "If three of us say it was a valuable instrument or information to gather then it would happen," adds Childs.
But Roy sees the staff's position differently, adding that the ability for board members to obtain information is paramount. "I think the staff is there to respond to the issues that board members bring to staff and allow board members to inform the public whom we serve," explained Roy.
The policy manual is made up of more than 500 regulations, many with multiple amendments, which has some people asking if this bureaucracy us taking away from the board's real work.
More than a dozen concerned citizens made it to last night's public hearing, and not everyone agrees with what the majority of the board is proposing. Cecilia Furey who no longer has children in alachua schools, says that it is the job of the school board as a whole to work in the interest of the people not deride each other. Furey says, "It's a thinly veiled attempt to muzzle certain school board members it's an effort to control." Â
She and other citizens who spoke at last night's public hearing expressed similar opinions. "Their job is to be the oversight committee for our tax dollars," adds Furey.
The school board is no longer taking any input from the community, and the final vote on rule changes will take place on July 17th.
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