Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not-so-liveblog of the Worcester School Committee retreat: to subcommittee or not to subcommittee?

Mary Mullaney says she is intrigued by this notion of having no subcommittees. Looking back and saying “why do we need it?” She is referencing here the voke school subcommittee established to merge in the voke school. He asks how much time they spend in subcommittee; she says it depends on the committee chair. He suggests making one monthy meeting a study session, and the other meeting a reaction. Bogigian wonders if all items really ought to be referred to subcommittee as a matter of course; the merits are not weighed before referred. Lukes says that School Committee members ought to monitor themselves. Mullaney says they generally have been deferentially to each other (but if they are talking to each other, it shouldn’t be offensive). Foley says he’s intrigued by this; subcommittees have worked well in his experience, but it would save on staff time; need to be much more strategic. Boone has already talked about changing her superintendent reports. He points out that this would be much more easy for constituent services. Monfredo expresses concern about the democratic process; voting items down without hearing them; don’t want to do away with advocacy of children. Suggested change of rules so public is allowed to speak without suspension of rules. Hargrove is looking for models: maybe they should meet more than twice a month. Mullaney suggests following the City Council model: one superintendent report meeting, one Committee meeting.
T&G photographer just came in (10:16 am)
(This is particularly interesting in light of the conversations that had been going on over whether staff members could be expected to report to evening meetings, which would have to happen if the School Committee went to this model…assuming of course that they didn’t instead move their meetings to during the day.)
He suggests more from Jon Carter; he’s going to send them something to read
Mary Mullaney has just raised the issue again of individual board members, and he’s drawn a distinction between acting as a parent versus acting as a board member.
There’s a break here, during which a number of School Committee members mention that they’re not so sure about eliminating subcommittees.

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