No need to know? (updated)

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Update: The strategic planning proposal has been posted here (thanks Barb).  No time to go into depth right now, except to say that it appears to follow what was done in Green Bay fairly closely, even recommending the same facilitator (Supt. Keith Marty of Menomonee Falls).

On the agenda for the Monday, December 1, 2008 MMSD Board of Education Meeting is an action item asking for approval of a proposed “structure and timeline for the MMSD strategic planning process,” and authorization for the “the Superintendent to pursue the key steps for implementation.”  This could be a big deal, I don’t know.  Short of contacting Board members or administrators or staff, there is no way to know.

There is public comment at the meeting Monday.  However, any comment on this proposal would be rushed because the proposal is not posted on the web and at best the public may be able to get a copy some time Monday.

I would guess the Board has seen and commented on versions of the proposal, but it has not been on an official agenda, nor has it been discussed at a public meeting.

This is no way to begin strategic planning that is supposed to include the larger community.  How can we be included if we don’t even know what is going on?

In messages to the community, Board President Arlene Silveira has promised that the strategic planning process would “include strong community input.”  Maybe that will come later.  So far there has been no effort to inform the public of anything of substance and on Monday they are scheduled to vote.

The “structure and timeline” might not be a big deal, it might be simple housekeeping  — no way to know — but if it is important, and they are serious about involving the community, they should slow things down, share the knowledge, ask for input…and involve the public from the very start.

Thomas J. Mertz

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2 Comments

Filed under Accountability, Best Practices, education, Local News

2 responses to “No need to know? (updated)

  1. Lucy Mathiak

    TJ – the board received the outline of the proposal in our packets last Thursday (Nov. 27). There has been no discussion about strategic planning in open or executive session meetings. The most that has been discussed has been in response to questions about when the proposal would be brought to the board and when planning would begin. Anything else would be a violation of state open meetings law, to begin with.

    Tonight is the first substantive discussion between the superintendent and the board.

    Lucy Mathiak

  2. Thank you Lucy.

    To clarify, my guess about the Board seeing or commenting on versions of the proposal was not meant to imply a violation of open meetings law, but referred to possible individual meetings or communications with administrators.

    I think the lack prior public discussion and the availability of the proposal to Board members only since Thursday reinforces my point that it would be best to take it slow with something this important, rather than revise and vote on the fly with no possibility of meaningful public involvement at this evening’s meeting.

    As you noted concerning a recent mayoral proposal, if you want to engage with people as partners, you have to keep them in the loop.

    Unless of course what is being voted on this evening isn’t substantive…like the rest of the public, I have no way of knowing what is on the table (I have contacted the Board secretary asking for a copy, but have not heard back yet, I’ll post here if I get a copy).

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