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PTA criticizes School Board communication

January 18, 2001

PTA criticizes School Board communication



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The president of the Washington County Council of PTAs presented nine concerns to the Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night, most centering around a feeling that the board isn't paying enough attention to parents.

President Jenny Belliotti said communication continues to be an issue between the School Board and the community and that the board rarely responds to reports from the PTA.

The PTA has yet to hear from the board regarding its October report, in which the lack of communication was also brought up, she said. She urged the board to improve its dealings with the public.

"There's one place where the buck stops, and the buck stops at each of your doors," Belliotti said.

"When the public speaks they should be answered, not with a letter that says, thanks for coming. But with real information and input," she said. "And they should be encouraged to be a part of the solution, not treated as a nuisance or ignored."

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Board Vice President Bernadette Wagner said the board is committed to improving its relations with the public, and that one board member has suggested forming an ad hoc committee on the issue.

Belliotti questioned why no members of the public were invited to join the Facilities Review Committee, which was set up to study the financial impact of school consolidation. Two School Board members, two board administrators and two County Commissioners are on the committee.

"But to form this committee without including any members of the public is absurd," Belliotti said. "You got the headlines and public outcry you appeared to be looking for."

School Board President J. Herbert Hardin said all the findings in the committee's final report will be presented to the community at public hearings.

Belliotti, who is chairwoman of the separate Facilities Enrollment Committee, said she asked to be on the Review Committee but was turned down. The Facilities Enrollment Committee meets twice a year and to make recommendations on issues including facility use and class size.

She said reports drafted by the Enrollment Committee date back about 18 months, and that the School Board hasn't responded to those reports either.

"We have heard nothing," Belliotti said. "Why are we meeting? No response says ... 'We'll get back to you. See ya in six months.' And that is an insult."

Board member Mary Wilfong responded by saying, "We're thinking about that. We'll get back to you."

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