School board revisits transparency
The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board met Monday, Aug. 14, to take care of some housekeeping ahead of the school year as well as expand on some business items it discussed during its Aug. 8 board retreat.
Most notably, the board revisited a nine-part resolution centered on transparency that it approved "in spirit" Aug. 8. While it was adopted Aug. 8, the board revisited the resolution for fine-tuning Aug. 14.
Seven of the nine items related to the quality and quantity of meeting minutes, stating that minutes should be written in a way that is easy to understand by the general public, and that all public testimony be recorded.
The resolution also stated that minutes will include detailed summaries of district presentations, conclusions and recommendations, and unofficial minutes will also be made available to the public in the days following meetings among other stipulations.
The resolution stated that videos of public meetings will remain available to review online "until such time as the board instructs the district to remove said videos." Board member Regan Molatore said she agreed with most of the resolution, but would prefer for the statement regarding videos to be more procedural, so that it doesn't appear as if the board is picking and choosing when they take videos down. She was also worried that unofficial minutes would require excessive time from staff and could prove detrimental if they're not properly vetted and fact-checked prior to distribution to the public.
Member Dylan Hydes, who prepared the document with help from Ludwig, said the intent was to leave videos up as long as possible, but that the wording gave the board the ability to remove videos if they contained sensitive information. He added that he spoke with an official with the Oregon School Board Association, who informed him that unofficial meeting minutes were a good practice for involved communities, such as West Linn and Wilsonville.
"My hope is that the videos never come down, and if the board wants videos to come down then they have to bring it before the public and explain their rationale for taking the video down," Hydes said. "I think 30 days for minutes is unnecessarily long. I think there is very little risk to doing unofficial meeting minutes within a few days."
The board approved the resolution 3-1 — member Chelsea Martin was not in attendance — with only Molatore voting against the resolution.
"I do agree with everything behind this, there's just a couple things that I'm not as comfortable with. But I fully support this resolution," Molatore said.
The school board also accepted a check from the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation for $114,000, all of which will go to the hiring of new teachers for the school district. The foundation raised money throughout the 2016-17 school year through a number of campaigns, culminating in their donation Aug. 14.
The board next meets for its first meeting of the 2017-18 school year Monday, Sept. 11. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the district's administration building.