Public Comment to Board of Education
April 19, 2016
by Stephanie Van Zante
According to the Board of Education Policy Book, under section 1.1.3:
“188.8.131.52 A Board member participating in a meeting by telephone or other means of communications technology by which all members participating may hear each other during a meeting is deemed to be present and in attendance at the meeting, whether or not the member is allowed to vote as otherwise provided in or limited by Board policies.”
Denver does not define electronic participation in their board docs.
Cherry Creek, Jeffco, Boulder Valley and Littleton’s BoE electronic participation policies also require the following:
“A Board member who seeks to attend and participate by electronic means in a regular or special Board meeting shall notify the Board President and Superintendent at least three (3) business days prior to a meeting and shall explain the extenuating circumstances that prevent the Board member from physically attending the meeting. If such notification is not possible under the circumstances, the Board member shall notify the Board President and Superintendent as soon as is reasonably possible of the request to attend by electronic means.
If the request is approved, a Board member who attends and participates in a regular or special Board meeting by electronic means shall identify for the recording the location from which he or she is participating, those present, and the extenuating circumstances that prevented the Board member from physically attending the meeting. If the Board convenes in executive session, the Board member attending and participating by electronic means shall ensure confidentiality during that portion of the meeting. A Board member may attend and participate by electronic means in a maximum of two (2) regular or special Board meetings per school calendar year. (Littleton’s maximum is (3) meetings per school year, BVSD’s is 4).”
WHERE in any of these documents does another district outline voting methods for electronic participation? No where, because their governing policies state, as does DCSD’s, that members attending electronically are deemed to be present and in attendance, but voting is limited to board policy. Directors are elected members, and have a responsibility to be present to address the public, and not hide behind electronics.
Since being voted in, Directors have missed/been late/left early/phoned in to the following meetings:
- Lemieux – zero/9
- Ray – zero/9
- Vogel – zero/9
- Reynolds – 1/49 – less than 1%
- Geddes – 21/49 – 42.8%
- Silverthorn – 26/150 – 17.3%
- Benevento – 47/150 – 31.3%
Consequently, board policy also includes this:
184.108.40.206 Board members who fail to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the Board will be deemed to have vacated their Board membership, unless the Board determines otherwise in accordance with applicable law.
Director Benevento missed 3 consecutive meetings September 15, October 20 and November 18, 2015. By policy, he is deemed to have vacated his membership. President Silverthorn has not announced at any board meeting since those dates that the board has determined otherwise, in accordance with applicable policy/law. Any votes that Director Benevento has participated in since November 30, 2015 are subject to review, due to his vacated status. In fact, no further business should be conducted until this is addressed. Why is Director Benevento still on the dais?