Foreman: No more Election Day meetings
Jeff SchmuckerBROOKSVILLE - While sign holders waved at passers-by, lines formed at polling places and candidates scrambled to be seen one more time before the final votes were cast Tuesday, it was business as usual for school board members — three of them anyway — as they ran through their scheduled afternoon and nightly meeting.
Published: November 8, 2012
Published: November 8, 2012
That irked Vice Chairman Matt Foreman, who during the group's afternoon workshop, proposed a policy that would forbid public meetings be scheduled on Election Day — adding that holding public meetings impacts candidates and voters alike.
School board meetings are typically held the first and third Tuesday of the month, and primary and general elections usually fall on the first Tuesday of August and November respectively.
During the August primary, Foreman pointed out that he would have liked to do more campaigning but was hampered due to the afternoon workshop and night meeting held a few hours after the workshop ended.
"For one, usually folks who are sitting up there conducting the meetings are up for re-election and there's a lot of activity that takes place on election days for folks who want to be involved in the process," Foreman said. "When you dedicate half of your day — and part of your night — to board meetings, you miss out on assisting other campaigns, or campaigning for yourself."
He added hosting public meetings on Election Day is also a disservice to the public. For example, he said sometimes those who would have attended the meetings don't because they're too busy voting or otherwise taking part in the election as well.
For example, he said Wednesday, more people might have wanted to attend the 7 p.m. Tuesday board meeting because members were slated to vote on changes to magnet school procedures. However, due to the election, Foreman said they might not have been able to.
"I've already received complaints from constituents," Foreman said. "I cannot think of a good reason to have meetings on election night."
During Tuesday's afternoon workshop, Superintendent Bryan Blavatt explained that board members set the schedule in November or December for the following year.
He said board members likely wouldn't have to worry about scheduling conflicts with the election in 2013, but would in 2014.
Foreman said his concern is that board members might forget to schedule around election dates.
"That's why I'm trying to introduce a policy on this so that every time we go to schedule our meetings, a reminder is in there," Foreman said. "Otherwise, I think this doesn't cross anyone's mind until Election Day."
Meanwhile, the matter will likely be brought back before the board at a later date for consideration.
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