Those wishing to speak before the USD 231 Board of Education have to wait in their cars — literally.
And district staff said a reporter would not be allowed into the lobby, but instead was encouraged to watch online from home.
A statement was issued by the board at noon on Nov. 9 requiring those wishing to speak at the meeting to wait in their vehicle in the South parking lot. They’re instructed to not enter the building but rather stay in the parking lot until a phone call is received at the number listed on the Intent to Address the Board card.
We say, what a load of hooie.
We encourage residents to file a Kansas Open Meetings complaint with the district attorney’s office. While the district’s decision may meet the letter of the COVID guidelines, it certainly doesn’t meet the spirit of the law or encourage public participation.
While we understand there are COVID protocols reguiring masks and social distancing county wide, we also are aware the district could safely move the meeting into an auditorium that would allow taxpayers to speak. Other government entities have done so.
It’s bad enough patrons have to jump thru the district’s hoops to voice their opinion; it’s insane they’re asked to wait in their cars, and once called, they have two minutes to be present at the entrance before being screened.
Seriously? Too bad if you are elderly or handicapped.
All that just to be allowed to speak for three minutes. Allowed. Three minutes. Got it — allowed to speak for three minutes.
That’s the tail wagging the dog. Maybe the district doesn’t remember, but it’s the taxpayers who foot the bill. Setting themselves above the taxpayers is a recipe for disaster.
The district has already lost 280 students due to poor communication. They lost students – not tax money. Whether those students attend USD 231 or not, the district is still paid. So there really is no incentive for change.
One thing is for sure, USD 231 needs leadership that represents the people. They need to be transparent rather than hiding behind policies that only serve to ‘circle the wagons.”