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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 20 ~ Feb. 14, 2001 It was a short meeting tonight. It is Valentine's Day after all. Don't worry; my wife and I went out last night. Just a few things caught my attention this time, but one of them sort of troubled me. Not a huge thing, but a bit concerning.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad_h@iname.com)

NEW SCHOOL ~ In a discussion about average daily attendance, which came up because the district gets money from the state is based on the average daily attendance (ADA), Board President Roger Graziani said that even though the ADA is down this year, it may be just a blip, and if it goes back up again, as he suspects it might with all the new home construction in town, the distict may need to talk to the city about a location for a new school.

BLIP? ~ Whether the lower attendance will pop back up again is a little uncertain. Board VP Bruce Carter said he thinks the high cost of housing may be keeping young families out of the area and Superintendent Louise Taylor said a discussion among local preschool administrators indicates that preschool attendance has been down a bit too, which suggests next year's crop of kindergarteners may also be a bit small.

HONORS ~ I caught a few tidbits about honors. There was nothing written down, so let me repeat what I heard as best I can. Apparently 11 students won gold or silver medals in a regional photography contest and will be competing in the statewide contest. Other students are having their haiku poems included in a national anthology, and Director of Food Services Robert Lewis (hope I'm getting the name right) has been selected to be on a federal panel to consider the effectiveness of giving snacks to students participating in after-school activities. Congratulations to all!

NAME TAG ~ Remember how I've been complaining that the podium nameplates for the staff members do not have their titles, so you can't tell the superintendent from the business director? Well, maybe that will get solved one of these days. Superintendent Taylor said the nameplates do not align well for the KGEM cable camera, which is off to the side, so it kind of looks like the nameplate for person A is actually for person B. So, she said, the district is going to get a wearable name and title tag for - if I heard correctly - Board President Roger Graziani, and if that works, well - who knows? - maybe we'll be able to figure out who all those people up front are.

HMMM ~ Okay. Here's what's bothering me. After adjourning the meeting tonight, Board President Roger Graziani explained that the board was going to go in a back room and "sign some letters." And I guess that's what they did. At least they all got up and trooped into a back room. I don't know the law as well as I used to in these matters, and I certainly don't intend to accuse anyone of doing anything intentionally wrong (people who are about to do something wrong seldom announce it to the community on television), but it strikes me that when the board - or even a majority of the board - gathers after a regular meeting is adjourned, especially if it is doing so to conduct some sort of business, that becomes precisely the sort of meeting that is prohibited by the Brown Act. And that bugs me. Any lawyers out there know for sure?

STUDY SESSIONS ~ And while I'm busy being bothered, I wish the board would conduct its study sessions in the board room rather than in a conference room tucked away in the back of the building. While these study sessions really are public, and you can wander in if you want (I know; I've done it), they don't *feel* at all public. You feel you are intruding on a private meeting. I doubt it is the board's intention to make people feel excluded. I suspect sitting around a table probably just makes it a lot easier to share papers and point at drawings and so forth, but I think the advantage of making the process more public greatly outweighs that.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next meeting is on Feb. 28, 2001 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive. There'll be a study session at 6:30 p.m. on the Open Court reading program.

Copyright (c) 2001, Brad Haugaard