School Board Considers Reinstating Committee Meetings
By Amy Van Meter
The Stevens Point School District may reorganize how business is run in the future.
As part of a discussion- only item of the Sept. 9 board meeting, member Renae Sheibly brought forth the idea of moving from two full board meetings per month to one, along with reinstating committees, which were disbanded before the end of the 2012-13 school year.
“I personally would like to go back to the old structure,” said Sheibly, who thought decision making at meetings that sometimes run past midnight was irresponsible.
While some welcomed the idea of bringing back committees, others were looking for ways to make the current system, which consists of two monthly full board meetings hosted on the second and fourth Monday of the month, more efficient.
“I agree that late night decisions aren’t good,” said member Lisa Totten, who observed a redundancy in the committee system where presentations sometimes were presented multiple times. “I like it the way is, but we need to streamline things.”
Some items on the agenda, such as recognition, should be handled at a different time, she said. The board’s recognition period takes place before board business is considered and has often taken as long as 30 minutes. This period formally recognizes students, teachers and community members who have volunteered, donated funds or in some other way contributed to the district, who are presented with a certificate or plaque, and then have their photos taken with district leaders before shaking each board member’s hand.
Both members Jeff Ebel and Jeff Presley said missed the aspect of having outside opinions involved with district decisions.
“I think we need more of the community involved and a committee is a way to do that,” Ebel said.
Some members agreed that certain aspects, such as policy and legislation, should have a committee for a trial period while other aspects would be dealt with solely by the board as a whole.
Policy and legislation take a lot of time during the board meetings, said member Bob Larson.
Chris Scott believed that committees, if brought back, should be created one at a time as well.
“We’re here to do work,” said Scott, who explained that she had seen both productive and unproductive committees during her 12 years on the board. “If you can’t get one committee to work, then why have two, three or four?”
Committees are only as effective as they are allowed to be, she said.
Other members were concerned with the transparency involved with committees.
“Committee meetings need to be taped (so everybody has access to the same information),” said member Kim Shirek.
The board will take action on the matter at the upcoming school board meeting. The board will also meet on Sept. 16 for a workshop about district goals and objectives.