Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DSBN moves on

Two related pieces about the District School Board of Niagara and its new pupil accommodation rules. The best I can find is the policies page, and the report laying out the recommended changes accepted by trustees Nov. 23 is not online as far as I can see. Niagara-on-the-Lake's Niagara Advance and the St. Catharines Standard took point on the changes.
The biggest one is that public input on school-closure decisions by the board will now be accepted separately from the meeting where trustees would actually vote on the question at hand. This is not an earth-shattering change and I'd be curious to know how other boards deal with this separation, if in fact they do separate the two. The board where I've covered several reviews does have this process in place for public input on proposed school closures-- in fact, trustees there never vote on any public input the night it's received. They can only ask questions of clarification on the presentation. Any votes arising from the presentation must be taken as "business arising from the minutes" in the following board meeting.
This won't separate the emotion of a packed board room from the evening where trustees vote on these difficult questions, but it does allow some breathing room between when people speak to trustees and when trustees then act on all the information they've received-- from administration, from the accommodation review committee report(s) and from the public input. I see this as an improvement in board governance at the DSBN and as stated above would be curious to hear how many other boards across the province follow similar procedure.


Anonymous said...

I like this idea by the DSBN about not having delegations on the same night as the main vote, I find that this is very pailiamentary, its the same as "calling the question" there is no debate after calling the question, and yet the DSBN will allow delegations at any meeting leading up to the vote and would even allow for special board meetings for the purpose of hearing from the community. To bad there is always sommeone that can not go along with changes for the better

Education Reporter said...

Anon 25 Nov. 20:42
The thing you've mentioned that I also wish more boards would do is schedule special meetings. I've been to too many where you have 90+ minutes of public input on one ARC, then a regular agenda jam packed full of other business. Everyone's eyes have glazed over by 30 minutes into the regular-agenda items.

Boards can call special meetings -- they should do it more often. Hey, why not even hold the special board input meeting in the community? Stellar ideas, usually ignored.