School board discusses opening up public comment

OROVILLE – A school director has suggested the Oroville School Board open up their public comment, changing the policy that...

DeVon retains board chairmanship

OROVILLE – A school director has suggested the Oroville School Board open up their public comment, changing the policy that requires people comment only regarding items on the agenda.

“Something has been heavy on my mind and that’s the Public Comments policy. It think it would add value if we add some guidelines and timelines that allow more comments… I don’t want to lose sight of why we’re here,” said Director Todd Hill.

Board Chairman Rocky DeVon said the Public Comment policy was at the board’s discretion and even if it were changed there would still have to be perimeters set. He went on to discuss the chain of events that leads up to issues coming before the board. For example the parent should talk with the student’s teacher before going to the principal. If that doesn’t work it goes to the principal and so on up to the superintendent before it comes to the board. He also said that individual teachers and other employees could not legally be discussed in open session of the board.

DeVon said, “There is a chain of command and we have to go through it.”

“There is a process I know,” said Hill. “If you think it is a waste of time as a board member than maybe you’re in the wrong place.”

Director Mike Egerton said, “I think it can’t be about an individual teacher, but if you’re talking about teachers in general that could work. If you (public commenter) starts to talk about a teacher then we have to say stop and send them through the process.”

Hill suggested the board set aside 10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting for public comments as long as they follow the guidelines.

Director Travis Loudon said he felt allowing comments on everything “can be risky.”

“Ten minutes aren’t going to make or break us… it’s our chance to show the public we care about them,” said Hill.

“Once someone makes an accusation you’re liable,” said Superintendent Steve Quick.

“I don’t buy into that… anyone could say something to one of us at the grocery store… I’m obligated to inform the board anyway,” said Egerton.

Hill insisted the board needed more of public comment element. The board will be giving the suggestion more thought and may be willing to change their policy regarding Public Comment being limited agenda items.

Hill suggested the change may cut down on some of the rumors.

“We want to be the best we can be. What could be better than to do this in 2015?” asked Hill.

Election of Officers

The board held their annual election of officers and DeVon was nominated to remain as Chairman with no other nominations coming forward. Loudon was also asked to remain as the Vice-Chairman and both were elected unanimously by the board.

Lawsuit

Hill also asked to set a date for an update on the lawsuit filed against Supt. Quick and his wife by a former Oroville teacher.

Quick said that the district’s attorney would have to be present and it would have to take place in an executive closed-door session.

A question was also asked about who is paying for Quick’s legal bills.

“We have an obligation to pay as he’s our superintendent,” answered DeVon.

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