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Washington Co. Board of Education OKs meetings policy

August 06, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- The Washington County Board of Education approved a policy Tuesday that dictates when and where school board meetings will be held.

However, it was a portion of the policy that limits the people who can be present at meetings closed to the public that divided the seven-member board.

The school board voted 4-3 to approve the policy, with Board Members Paul W. Bailey, Ruth Anne Callaham and Wayne D. Ridenour opposed.

The policy states that business meetings will be held twice each month on "days and times to be determined by the board." That is a change from the old policy, which stated that meetings would be held twice each month at 7 p.m.

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The board typically held public business meetings at 6 p.m. or 1 p.m. but Tuesday's meeting began at 4 p.m.

Board Vice President Donna Brightman said that other boards of education also have moved to having one evening and one day meeting each month. She said that helps include those who have different work schedules and cannot always make it to evening meetings.

During Tuesday's business meeting, Ridenour asked that the policy be changed to allow the school system superintendent to invite people to attend the board's closed session meetings.

The policy adopted by the board did not include that language, but Brightman and Board President Roxanne R. Ober said the policy has never prevented the superintendent from inviting people. The adopted policy states, "Attendance at closed meetings will be restricted to board members, the superintendent or the superintendent's designee, deputy superintendent, the board's attorney and those persons invited by the board."

Ridenour said he was aware that the policy was the same one used since at least 2001, but said it might prevent a superintendent from "inviting certain individuals that might be necessary."




Here is how board members voted:

President Roxanne R. Ober -- Yes

Vice President Donna Brightman -- Yes

Paul W. Bailey -- No

Ruth Anne Callaham -- No

Wayne D. Ridenour -- No

William H. Staley -- Yes

Bernadette M. Wagner -- Yes

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