The Southeast Warren Board of Education met for a work session January 9th, 2003, in the media center of the Junior/Senior High School building. Tom Farley called the meeting to order at 6:45 P.M. The following board members were present: Debbie Miller and John Burrell. Director Greg Davis arrived at 6:50 P.M. Director Kevin Smith was absent. Superintendent Susan Garton was also in attendance.

The board agenda format was the first matter for discussion. No changes in the agenda format were determined to be necessary, beyond the language recently added to provide for public input.

Next the board discussed the frequency and content of work sessions. Some other districts use monthly work sessions to promote the full discussion of issues before those issues go to a regular board meeting for approval. The Superintendent also addressed the use of an outside facilitator at work sessions to guide the directors in their role and to promote team building at the board table. There was agreement to try another work session in February. The date is to be determined at the next regular meeting of the board. The Superintendent is to inquire about the costs of a facilitator, what a facilitator does, and supply the names of facilitators who have served other districts. The general consensus for frequency and content of work sessions was “as needed.”

Director Burrell voiced his dissatisfaction with the Superintendent’s Friday Letters. He would like to hear about all the negative things in the district. As an example, he produced a copy of a special ed review dated Nov. 11th, which he said he was saving to use on the Superintendent’s evaluation. The Superintendent noted that information is always given to the whole board at the same time. If one board member has a report, he should share the contents with the other Directors. If a board member has questions about any public report, the board member should call the Superintendent and request information. In this case, the report had not gone to board members nor to the public.

In relation to board goals, the board discussed their goal on public relations. Are there ways a board member can help build trust? Staff forums and more opportunities to talk with groups were mentioned. Practice was identified as an essential element of building trust.

The meeting adjourned at 9:25 P.M.

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