Last night I attended the Farmington School Board meeting and retreat following. I read the agenda and thought that item X. part C. was of particular interest. The school board planned to close a portion of the meeting to TV viewers but presumably allow reporters and the public to view the proceedings in person? What good will that do? So in order to make sure that the public heard about what as happening during this meeting, I took it upon myself to hoof it down to Farmington to the ridiculously early school board meeting which was to begin at 5 PM and report what I’m sure will not end up in the local media. If the school board wasn’t going to show the proceedings to the public, I was going to do my damnedest to try to get word out there instead.
I sat through the meeting and watched as the majority of the Farmington School Board voted to close their retreat to public viewing by TV. The strongest objections came from Tim Burke who mentioned that they already had the cameras on, why not keep them on for this discussion. Chair Heman was insistent on making the motion to close the meeting and while there was some small dissent from the newer board members who made passive mentions that they are not afraid to say anything to everyone, several other board members claimed:
1. They were not depriving the public of any business information to which Burke replied that measurement of the superintendent’s evaluation standards has an indirect financial impact.
2. Closing the meeting to public viewing from afar will foster a different type of dialog because Board members would be afraid of what the people would think of them.
After a few minutes of discussion, the chair again pushed his agenda through and when it came down to the vote, I believe I only heard two nays. If anything, this just proves that the majority of the Farmington School Board members, and especially Mr. Heman, are not interested in informing the public of the very important work that they do and instead just believe that people should hear about the “Good News” portions of the meeting where they talk incessantly about the Tiger Sports members and their accolades. Let me clue you in to something ISD 192 Board members, you are a bunch of pussies and what you did last night was nothing short of disgusting–especially you Mr. Heman. I hope that the voters remove your ass from your seat as you’ve been there entirely too long and have lost the desire to make important change.
Yes, Mr. Heman admitted with a flippant remark during the “Preliminary Budget Report” (XI. B.) that even though Mr. Burke was interested in reading all 3,000 line items of the upcoming budget in order to make a better informed decision about it, he was completely uninterested in any such action. While Mr. Heman may feel that it’s not his business to delve into the Farmington School Board budget in such a way, he should really reconsider being that Farmington has some of the highest property taxes around due in large part to that 100 million dollar shrine to Tiger Sports and Brad Meeks’ unreasonably high salary.
Mr. Heman later admits that during his first year as chair he received numerous phone calls from the public regarding issues surrounding the district but after “smartening up” he realized that they were the same handful of people calling about the same things. While he didn’t say it outright, what he seemed to be saying was that the opinions of the few are not as important as the unheard and unknown opinions of the silent majority. Chair Heman then said that he hasn’t received many calls from the public since and that it shows that people aren’t as interested as several of the new members on the Board may believe. Wow, the ignorance of Mr. Heman is astounding and certainly one of the biggest reasons he should not serve another term on the Farmington School Board.
Couple of questions:
1. What do you think of the Farmington School Board’s motion to close the retreat section of the meeting to TV viewing while reporters and the general public were permitted to attend in person? Does this make the opinions and comfort level of those seated any less with the public there anyway?
2. What do you think of Chair Heman’s actions regarding reading through important district documents before making multi-million dollar decisions affecting all school district residents after admitting that he hears from nearly no one?
Whatever you feel about this topic go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say!