Community Concerns with Shannon
Our next question comes from Sabrina Bates from Martin. Sabrina asked, “Why isn’t there a time set aside at school board meetings for parents?”
Sabrina said that she covers school board meetings in Carroll County too and that they don’t have a spot on their agenda for parents to ask questions either.
I reached out to school board chairman Steve Vantrease who stated, “Requests to be put in the agenda should be made to the Director’s office at least 5 days prior to the date of the meeting. I announced at the last meeting we were trying a community input survey to solicit community thoughts. If this doesn’t prove to be productive, we’ll look at alternative options.”
I then went online and started looking through policies on the school board website and found the WCS agenda policy which states, “staff members or citizens of the district may suggest items for the agenda” and for items to be considered for the agenda “they must be received in the Director of School’s office seven days prior to the scheduled date of the meeting. The person(s) requesting an item on the agenda shall forward any background information to the director of schools’ office so that the material will be included in the delivery to the board members prior to the meeting.”
WCS also has a policy on appeals to the board that states, “any matter relating to the operation of the school system may be appealed to the board.” The policy states that the appeal must be settled “at the lowest level of responsibility and will not hear complaints or concerns which have not advanced through the proper administrative procedure from the point of origin,” The policy states that if all steps are followed and an appeal is still wanted then the matter is referred in writing to the director and board.” The policy also states that individuals that come before the board won’t be heard unless they make a written request five days prior, and remarks are limited to five minutes unless time is extended by the board. If anyone wants information about any items on the agenda they are supposed to contact the director.
WCS has a board-community relations policy which states that the board “will strive to keep citizens of the school system regularly informed” and “direct all school employees to participate in good school-community interaction by transmitting pertinent and correct information to citizens upon request and seeking ways to improve school-community relations” and “recognize the right of news media to inquire, research and report to the public information about local schools.” The policy states that the principal of each school is the person responsible for the development of a public relations program and that they should promote these. The director is responsible for leadership in school-community relations.
The board also has a school board records policy which states that the director maintains all school district records as required by law, and that any citizen of Tennessee is permitted to inspect the records during office hours or request in writing and receive copies. “All requests to inspect or receive copies of records shall be submitted to the district’s public records request coordinator, the Assistant Director of Schools.”
All policies relating to the school board can be found at www.weakleycountyschools.com/schoolboard.
We hope to be able to answer a question every week from a member of the community. Just send us your questions by Monday every week. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text questions to 731-819-4497, stop by the office, give us a call at 731-587-3144 and ask for Shannon or message us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We look forward to serving the community better by answering the concerns you may have surrounding any issue in Weakley County.