Petition for WSSD Transparency

Over the last several months I’ve had a number of conversations about our school district. On one hand, I’ve heard from parents that feel the district is on the wrong track or making mistakes that aren’t acknowledged (or that the board doesn’t seem aware of). From board members, I hear that they are listening, but few are talking to them. On issues I get complaints about, the board hears little. Few attend their meetings and they get few emails.

This disconnect is not healthy for our community. Over the winter break a group of us got together and resolved that the place to start is to re-establish communications between the board and their constituents. We wrote and are circulating a petition to be presented to the board at their January meeting next Monday. You can sign the petition here if you wish to join these efforts.

Starting in 2022 the WSSD Board of Directors changed from meeting twice a month to once a month, with much of the substantive discussion taking place in subcommittee meetings. The result has been a reduction of information to the public and difficulty in easily accessing the discussions of the administration and school board. Since this transition, trust in the school district has noticeably eroded and public engagement within the district has dropped substantially.

To improve dialogue with constituents and increase transparency, we ask the board to implement the following reasonable changes:

  • Record committee meetings and make videos of them available in a way similar to the board meetings. Since much of the discussions go on in these meetings, it is imperative that those that cannot attend in the evenings (parents who have young children, work in the evening, cannot get daycare, or have other responsibilities) can still participate in items that are important to them and their families.
  • Re-implement a system where residents who cannot attend the single monthly board meeting have the option to add comments to the board that appear in the official record on board docs. The current system favors those of privileged groups and silences others. Many do not show up to meetings due lack of access, not apathy.
  • Move the public comments section of the meeting to before focus topics, as is done at the township and county meetings, so people can comment to the board at a predictable time.
  • Create regular and advertised listening or discussion forums between board members and residents, to allow a dialogue between the board and public.

Categories: WSSD