21 Aug 2014
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D122 to Revisit Communication With Residents During Meetings

Follow some complaints over the board's responsiveness at meetings, new board President Nick DiSandro hopes to create more dialogue.

D122 to Revisit Communication With Residents During Meetings

New District 122 school board President Nick DiSandro said communication was what he wanted to improve most when he was elected to the board last month.

Less than a week after taking a seat on the board, he's asking the board to revisit its policies in regard to public comments and board interaction with residents at meetings.

Under the school board's current policy, the board is allowed to listen to public comments but not provide feedback.

"To open the lines of communication between the board and our community, we have decided to revisit the policy and see if there isn’t a better way to have an open dialogue," DiSandro said in a news release.

At last week's school board meeting, an exchange occurred that when it comes to communicating with the board members. Just after resident Phil Adair criticized the members for their lack of dialogue with the public or among themselves making decisions, resident Karen Little sought answers about raises in the district.

Former board President Kathy Markus eventually cut off Little when she continued to push for answers, saying that it's board policy to not respond to the public comments.

"I'll admit I was rather taken aback by the tone of the response I received," Little said in comments on a previous article. "I look forward to a new board with fresh leadership and a proposed commitment to more open communication."

On some occasions, the board members have responded to various comments, such as Adair's previous request to have Libery Junior High School renamed. Superintendent Mike Sass will sometimes respond to comments later in the meeting, and in this case asked public commenters to come with facts in hand.

"You have the right to your own opinions, but you don't have the right to your own facts," he said.

The board will discuss its communication policies at its next meeting, which is at 5:30 p.m. today at the . In the meantime, DiSandro asked residents with questions to email the Board of Education at boe@nlsd122.org. All board policies, including the ones that will be under consideration (2:230 and 8:110), can be found on the school district's website

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