The case of the vanishing agenda item

Apparently actions of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board continue to be suggestions that can be ignored, judging by a comparison of the preliminary minutes from the recent Committee of the Whole and the posted agenda for Thursday evening’s full board meeting.  The board sent an item to the full board (with neither a recommendation in favor or against) regarding construction at Polk and University Terrace Elementary Schools and the proposed move of the foreign language immersion program currently housed at South Boulevard Elementary.  Yet the board agenda contains no such item in the section following the consent agenda.

The minutes can be viewed at http://www.ebrschools.net/eduWEB1/1000144/docs/mcow11.7.13.pdf.  The substitute motion made by Mr. Arbour and seconded by Ms. Dyason (which passed 8-1 with Ms. Bernard voting against and Mr. Tatman and Dr. Nelson-Smith absent) reads as follows:

“The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Committee of the Whole does hereby send the following item to the full Board without a recommendation:  authorization for staff to advertise, accept the low bid meeting specifications and make the award of a contract for the Classroom Renovations and Additions at Polk Elementary School, and University Terrace Elementary School, or reject any and all bids for just cause in accordance with the Louisiana Public Bid Law; Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 38; Chapter 10.  The awarding of the contract will be conditioned upon the Board approving the transfer from Baton Rouge FLAIM to Polk Elementary School and from Polk Elementary School to University Terrace Elementary School.”  Yet there is no mention of this item on the agenda posted at http://schoolboard.ebrschools.org/eduWEB2/1000145/docs/a11.21.13.lkpub.pdf.

Never mind that I think any discussion of moving programs is premature without the administration providing far more background data than it is willing or able to provide.  Never mind that it’s stupid to consider additions to any buildings without considering space utilization systemwide.  Never mind that the shift of students from Polk to University Terrace would be more of a merger than a move.

If the board, acting as a Committe of the Whole, forwarded an item to the full Board, why in the (expletive deleted) isn’t the item on the (another expletive deleted) agenda?  This (yet another expletive deleted) is getting old.  Does the Superintendent think he has full veto power over board actions?  If this item doesn’t get discussed at the full Board meeting Thursday evening (November 21, 2013) the public should conclude that the Board has abandoned its position as the governing body for public education in the East Baton Rouge Parish School District.

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