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Rockford School Board Adds Committee of the Whole Meetings

7/13/2018

​The Rockford School Board will hold its first Committee of the Whole meeting next week, part of a change in the board's meeting structure. This additional monthly meeting will replace standing committee meetings: Education, Operations and Budget & Finance. The full School Board will continue to meet, typically every second and fourth Tuesday each month. Committee of the Whole meetings – which will include all seven board members – are usually scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month.

Most recently, the district's Education, Operations and Budget & Finance committees met monthly. Each committee was led by a board member as chairperson. Other board members, administrative liaisons and community members made up each committee, and each chairperson would provide a recap to the full board during the following regularly scheduled School Board meeting. Moving forward, presentations and discussions typically presented at the committee level will be prioritized at Committee of the Whole meetings so all seven board members can hear presentations and participate in in-depth conversations at once, instead of limiting that to a small group.

The administration recommended this model in the spring to increase efficiency with a goal of having more real-time discussion that's focused on the district's strategic plan. "Everyone will hear everything at the same time, and our time is our most precious asset," said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett.

How it works: Typically an action item is presented once thoroughly at the committee level to two or three board members. Then it is presented again to the full board for a first and second reading before a vote.  Under the new committee meeting structure, all seven board members will hear proposals with the opportunity for lengthy vetting and conversation before going to the board floor for a more discussion and vote. "The way the committee structure is today has evolved over time," said School Board President Ken Scrivano. "If we want to gain efficiencies, we have to think about doing things a little differently and focus our attention on strategic initiatives."

Schedule: Meetings are still open to the public, and community members are invited to attend. Committee of the Whole meetings will usually happen the first Tuesday of each month. The meetings will not include time for closed session agenda items, which will leave more time for questions and answers. No action will take place at committee meetings. Committee of the Whole meetings are scheduled on the following dates, and meeting times will be flexible, depending on the agenda:

2018: July 17, Aug. 7, Sept. 4, Oct. 16, Nov. 6, Dec. 4
2019: Jan. 15, Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, June 4

All meeting notices are posted on rps205.com.

Special thanks to the community members who served on RPS 205 committees:

Education Committee: Martesha Brown, Dr. Joan Kole, Christina Peacock and Richardo Montoya-Picazo

Operations Committee: Charles Block, Jean Harezlak, Brian Neuses, Sunil Puri and Glen Turpoff

Finance Committee: Diana Cruden, Denise Pearson, David Rundquist, Joshua Tatman and Chris Weber.