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Is there a better way?

Original post made by JSD on Nov 10, 2010

I tried to watch the entire Board of Education meeting last night, in real time, from home. I fell asleep just past midnight, when the information presentation about MI was still underway and the discussion hadn't even begun.

Is there a better way to discuss and determine important PAUSD policies than to routinely have open-ended meetings progressing way into the wee hours? Is _anyone_ (board members, district staff, visiting experts, interested community attendees) truly able to bring their best presentation, inquiry, evaluation, and decision skills in such an environment? (Remember that everyone involved is coming to this _after_ completing a full day of work/school/caregiving/ volunteering.)

We increasingly preach to our kids about how sufficient sleep is one of the most important basic human needs which directly impacts our well-being, yet our actions show them how little we value it. Factor in as well the decline of brain function under sleep-deprived situations, and it makes no sense to routinely function in this way.

I'm sure starting board meetings in the evening is an attempt to be inclusive, which I applaud -- certainly a daytime meeting would exclude a huge portion of our community who don't have the workplace or primary caregiver flexibility to check out for several hours (including otherwise-potential board members).

With the brain trust existent in our community, we should be able to come up with some ideas to alleviate (if not eliminate) this problem. (Surely the reception honoring the teachers who initiated the shift of the kindergarten eligibility cut-off date did not have to be scheduled on the same night as two known-hot-button agenda items!)

What are the hurdles to the board deciding to table a discussion if it's clearly just too long/late to be inclusive and a best effort?

What are your ideas to keep Board of Education meetings inclusive while moving to a more reasonable, manageable, productive meeting experience?

Comments (1)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Why put two hot button topics on the same evening? A better way would have to done these on separate evenings, even by adding an extra meeting.

The MI discussion, although quite important, is not as time sensitive as the calendar. Many people do need to start requesting vacation time for next year before the end of December so this is time sensitive.

Having or not having MI available for next year does not have to be announced until January Kinder registration time.

An extra meeting should have been scheduled for MI.


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