What exactly is the purpose of the special meeting – retreat –
called by the Morgan Hill Board of Education trustees for Monday
night? According to the agenda, the trustees, with the help of a
facilitator, will be looking at protocol and procedures, as well as
setting goals. Isn’t it a little late in the day for that?
What exactly is the purpose of the special meeting – retreat – called by the Morgan Hill Board of Education trustees for Monday night? According to the agenda, the trustees, with the help of a facilitator, will be looking at protocol and procedures, as well as setting goals. Isn’t it a little late in the day for that?
We realize, and agree with, the fact that the board annually meets to examine its goals, but surely, with three board members declaring they won’t run again in November, the remaining trustees can wait until after the new board is assembled in December.
What really concerns us is the expenditure of the $2,000 or more – the district has not released the exact cost – for the facilitator. With school budgets frozen, and the district as a whole facing cuts of $2.8 million for next year, how can trustees spend any amount for something that is not absolutely necessary?
The facilitator may not be the only cost for this retreat, since the trustees will be meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which has a standard charge of $200 for a half-day’s use of its meeting room. And since the retreat is from 5-9 p.m., it is safe to assume that some sort of dinner will be provided, unless the trustees brown bag.
A few years ago, when the overall economy was better, when the state budget was healthier, when schools were adequately funded, this type of retreat for the board would have been considered reasonable. After all, they spend hours reading board agendas, attending meetings, visiting schools and listening to community members, and their annual goal-setting retreat is an extra meeting, so why not make it pleasant?
This year, however, it makes no sense. When our school sites are existing on whatever supplies were already ordered before the freeze, and district employees are wary of future cuts, this isn’t the correct time for the board to jaunt off to the Courtyard to work with an expensive facilitator. Nothing against the facilitator; certainly he or she would be helpful to the board, but at a different economic time and when the new board members are seated.
If trustees need to re-examine its goals, talk about protocol and improve their collaborating skills, fine. But do it in the board room without the facilitator. The state of the economy, the state of the state’s budget and the state of the district’s budget do not allow these types of expenditures.