|After nearly six hours behind closed doors Wednesday night, the Palo Alto school board announced that it agreed to expel two students but otherwise took "no reportable action" relating to a continuing "lack of trust" crisis in the district.
Board President Mandy Lowell said Thursday that the board spent more than a third of the meeting on the expulsions, and considered other labor negotiation issues, as well as discussing the current situation between mid-level administrators and the district's top administration.
Trust emerged Sept. 6 as a top-priority concern of an unknown number of the 48 members of the district's "management team," when representatives presented a one-page document to Superintendent Mary Frances Callan. The Weekly obtained a copy of the document Sept. 27, unleashing a flurry of official meetings, e-mails, phone calls and often conflicting reports and allegations posted on the Town Square forum on the Weekly's community Web site, www.PaloAltoOnline.com.
Lowell said that while nothing is reportable out of the meeting Wednesday, district officials are actively responding. She said Scott Bowers, associate superintendent for human resources, has sent out two e-mails to representatives of the management team. Bowers reportedly said the district administration and school board are ready to meet and if desired bring in one or more outside consultants to clarify facts and perceptions and perhaps help repair any damaged communications and trust.
Lowell said her personal priority as board president is "to establish healthy communication within the district."
She said she has not talked to anyone on any side who would be opposed to bringing in an outside person with organizational experience to talk to all parties and recommend ways to improve the situation.
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