The Kyrene Governing Board will be rolling out a different format for its meetings when the new fiscal year begins July 1.
As members discussed a while ago, the board will be using its first meeting of the month as a study session that will include the usual celebrations of staff and student achievements and a discussion of major actions and policies that will be voted on at the second meeting of the month.
The first meeting of the month “is intended to be informative in nature, providing background to the board prior to making decisions,” board President Michael Myrick explained. “The second meeting would focus on the business of the district to include consent agenda and board actions on previously identified information.”
Any votes by the board during the first meeting would limited to unexpected matters requiring immediate board action and the so-called consent agenda, which involves routine administrative matters on which all members agree.
Citizens will have the opportunity to speak at both meetings, but they will now have to indicate whether they want to speak on an item on the agenda or a matter that is not listed for board discussion or action.
They’ll make that indication known to the board by filling out yellow cards to address an agenda item and blue cards to talk about something else.
The new format is aimed at streamlining meetings to a degree and cutting their length.
“The role of the governing board is complex and is communicated to the staff and community through board actions,” Myrick said. “When a board focuses its discussions and actions on establishing goals for the district, identifying processes for measuring educational outcomes and ensuring that resources support the adopted vision, goals, objectives, and tasks of the district, it builds trust and confidence among stakeholders in our system.”
He noted that one of the board’s strategic goals is “focused on collective governance.”
The board also will continue its retreats — meetings, open to the public, which involve no action.
“We’ll ensure that we are effectively focusing your energy and resources toward the achievement of our goals through governing board retreats,” Myrick said. “We’ve had conversations around our work as a board and have initiated more goals to provide the conditions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.”
Board member John King said the new approach also gives the public an opportunity to listen to a study session on important pending actions and formulate responses in plenty of time to let the board know how their opinions before the board takes up a vote two weeks later.
“I think it’s important that we are able to focus one meeting at least on the business of the board, which is what these meetings are about,” board member John King said.
At the same time, he added, “We don’t want to leave out the community.”
Having two different options for public comment at meetings will make for a more organized approach, King said.
During an April 30 meeting that focused largely on a protocol for meetings as well as board interaction with the public, members also discussed banning the use of personal devices during the meetings, according to minutes of that meeting that the board approved May 28.
There also was a discussion about board responses to emails.
The board is adopting a canned boilerplate response to emails it receives from parents and other citizens, although members will be allowed to reply individually “within the guidelines suggested by legal counsel,” according to the minutes of that session.
That study session was aimed at getting the board working “acting as one body, not as individuals” with having “the board and superintendent work together as a team,” the minutes state.
Much of the protocol discussed by the board has been recommended by the Arizona School Boards Association.