Board discusses changing meeting day

EAST LIVERPOOL-The East Liverpool Board of Education is considering changing their regularly scheduled meeting from Monday’s to Thursday’s.

At this week’s meeting some board members argued that doing so would give them more time to review the meeting agenda and make changes, while others contended changing the day of the meeting would not make major a difference.

Board President Janice Martin broached the subject Monday night saying that, by changing the board’s meeting to Thursday, board members would have more time to review and discuss agenda items.

She noted that typically the superintendent, treasurer and the board president meet to set the meeting’s agenda, on average, two days before the meeting. However, with board meetings on Monday’s it is often difficult to get in touch with other board members and school officials to discuss a possible issue or addendum to the agenda.

“When we get the agenda there’s nobody to talk to over the weekend and here it is Monday,” said Martin.

Board member Brian Allen agreed noting that, not only is it problematic contacting school board members and administrators on the weekend, but it is also difficult to do so on Monday’s before the meeting when many are at work.

“It’s tough for me, especially with not getting the agendas until late Friday-the (school) building is already closed for the day, so its hard for me to get hold of anybody if I have a question,” said Allen. “And then Monday’s are always tough with work, so then by the time I can get to somebody to ask a question it’s right before the meetings. That’s the part about it I don’t like- having to rush to vote on things. I like to do more research and ask questions.”

Board member Larry Walton cautioned his fellow board members about rushing to change the board meeting schedule but said that he was open to their suggestion.

He said it sounded as though the issue was not when board members meet so much as when the information on the agenda is set and becomes available to board members.

He asked board members to consider ways to get the information on the agenda sooner and noted that adding an addendum to revise the agenda is always an option.

“I think if we change the day (of the meeting), we ought to set a day (to have agenda complete) and hold everyone to it,” said Walton.

Martin responded, that despite the board’s best efforts to have the agenda set in advance in the past, addendum and other changes often have to be made last minute. She pointed to Monday’s agenda as an example.

“When was the last time that we had an agenda that didn’t have an addendum,” said Martin.

Board member Scott Dieringer agreed with Walton, saying that even if the board changed the meeting day to Thursday, they would still be pressed for time if the agenda was set on Tuesday or Thursday. However, he noted that he understood board member’s concerns about lack of time to research agenda items. Walton added that in the past, when the board held meetings on Thursday, it was often the case that agendas were not available until Wednesday.

Walton then suggested that the board consider posting an electronic version of the agenda to the district’s website, so that board members could view it prior to the meeting. Other board members responded that in the past, even with the electronic version, they wound up having the same problem of not having it to review soon enough.

Treasurer Todd Puster said he would like to see board members have the agenda at least three days in advance no matter when they held their meetings. He told board members that, in his experience, many last minute changes to the agenda were due to personnel issues.

“As she (Superintendent Dr. Melissa Watson) gets involved in her new role she can think through how the hiring process is handled and I think many of the concerns can be addressed that way,” said Puster.

Board members ultimately decided to discuss the issue with district employees and revisit it at a later date.

“I think we should talk to our employees here and see how it effects them,” said Board member Robert Estell. “If it’s just a matter of getting the agenda out in a more timely manner so that it can be asked about, that sounds fairly easy to solve.”