Friday, December 3, 2010

Four things you may not know about the Worcester School Committee

  • We don't get invited to everything. Before I was elected, I assumed that there was a magical list that the Committee members all got of things going on that were education-related that week. There's no such thing. We all read the paper, the website, whatever school newsletters are sent to us, and such, but if you wonder why School Committee members didn't come to something, there's a good chance that we simply didn't know about it. (And if you're in a PTO or something similar and want to let us know, we all have mailboxes at the administration building at 20 Irving Street, so you can send things there, even through pony mail. Which doesn't have ponies. But you probably knew that.)
  • Just because it wasn't discussed on the floor doesn't mean nothing happened. First of all, in some cases, filing an item on an agenda is sometimes seen as making a statement (it isn't, always, but it can be). Sometimes it's easier and you have more of a chance of actually getting something done by just sending an email or making a phone call. Also, there are restrictions around what can be discussed in open meeting: personnel items that are subject to the superintendent, for example, cannot be discussed on the floor.
  • Those chairs are really uncomfortable. Yes, even more uncomfortable than those in the gallery. It's popularly held though that a) the mayor's chair is the most uncomfortable, and b) it's intentional, so the meetings don't run long. You can judge best if that works.
  • We appreciate public comment. And no, I'm not just saying that. The City Council not uncommonly gets overwhelmed with comments on issues; not so the School Committee. But we're in charge of your kids for seven hours a day; you should by all means let us know how you feel about things that affect them, as should the kids themselves.

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