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Committees sought by school board

December 11, 2000

Committees sought by school board



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


As newly appointed president, J. Herbert Hardin already has a few ideas on how to boost The Washington County Board of Education's effectiveness.

One idea, he says, is that board-member committees formed to discuss certain topics - which would include human resources, Board of Education policies and budgets - could improve communication among staff members.

"It's important that we communicate with staff," Hardin said. "We hope that we can develop some guidelines. We're trying to take steps to be more aware."

Last week, the School Board began outlining ways to improve communication with the public, an issue campaigned on heavily by new members Edward Forrest, Roxanne Ober and Bernadette Wagner.

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Each committee would be made of up of two or three School Board members, which would be responsible for calling its own meetings and gathering information. As each committee becomes informed about a specific topic, it would then make recommendations and pass the information on to the entire School Board.

This way, Hardin said, the committees would reduce the amount of time the entire board spends at meetings and cut back on the overlap of information already discussed at past board workshops.

"It would be less time for individuals at meetings, but we'd be more thoroughly informed," Hardin said. "Sometimes there are seven of us hearing the same information. Maybe we can reduce that."

All of the committee meetings would be open to the public. School Board work sessions would still be held in addition to the committee meetings.

He suggested that some of the meetings could be held in the schools, so School Board members could observe particular learning activities.

"I think firsthand observation is the best way to make judgments," Hardin said.

He also thinks that while some School Board issues can be discussed and decided upon in as little as 20 minutes, major topics should be given more time or even be tabled until a later meeting.

"We haven't done that as I thought we may," Hardin said. "Sometimes you can't make a decision in 20 or 45 minutes."

He's confident that the new committees and board policies will continue to come together over the next couple of months, but it'll take some effort.

"We've got our work cut out for us."

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