The Palo Alto school board will hold a special meeting on Thursday to reflect on its own performance and effectiveness. Afterwards, the board will evaluate the superintendent in closed session.
First on the agenda will be a discussion about the length and focus of board meetings. While the average length of a board meeting has dropped from over four hours in 2015 to three-and-a-half hours in 2019, the members will discuss how they can make the meetings more efficient.
District staff are also looking for the board to clarify their expectations for length and detail of presentations at meetings, according to a report prepared primarily by President Todd Collins. He suggested they consider asking staff to limit presentations to a certain number of minutes and to focus on written narratives instead of reading from bullet point presentations. He also proposed bringing more bond project items to the board on the consent agenda, meaning they are only discussed if requested by a board member.
For board members, the report suggests submitting written questions to staff in advance when possible. Having clearer conventions around how board members respond to agenda items from the dais could also help them "be efficient with their time," it states.
The board will also discuss the possibility of creating an audit or budget committee that could be made up of only board members, or a combination of them and others.
The five board members will also take time to reflect on the district's main goals, the role of the board in achieving those goals, the superintendent's relationship to the board and whether they interact effectively as a board.
Also on the agenda are proposals for how the district should manage and set expectations for its own performance.
Open session will take place from 5-7 p.m. In closed session from 7-8 p.m., the board will conduct Austin's mid-year performance evaluation. View the full agenda here.