<$Romeo Kids First$>
This is the blog of Jennifer White, Romeo, Michigan. I am a trustee-elect to the Romeo Board of Education. My 4 year term begins July 9, 2007. I will use this blog to post my personal thoughts on the school district happenings, this will allow the community to be kept informed of my views. I will not be serving as a board spokesperson, these will be my individual views.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Board of Education meeting dates 2007/2008 school year
At the July 9, 2007 Romeo Board of Education meeting, Resolution #2 approved the new dates for the 2007/2008 school year meeting dates. All meetings begin at 7 p.m., and any special meetings will be posted seperately as needed.

Please place close attention to the meeting locations, as they do change month to month.
August 13, 2007 RETC
September 10, 2007 Indian Hills Elementary
September 24, 2007 RETC
October 8, 2007 Hevel Elementary
October 22, 2007 RETC
November 12, 2007 Powell Middle School
December 10, 2007 Amanda Moore Elementary
January 14, 2008 Washington Elementary
January 22, 2008 RETC
February 11, 2008 Romeo Middle School
February 25, 2008 RETC
March 10, 2008 Croswell
April 14, 2008 Romeo High School
April 28, 2008 RETC
May 12, 2008 Hamilton Parsons Elementary
June 9, 2008 RETC
July 14, 2008 Administration Building
posted by Jennifer L. White @ 5:38 PM   24 comments
Friday, May 25, 2007
Bondary Modification Deserve Discussion
Boundary Modifications Deserve Discussion.

Two months ago a boundary modification committee was formed to address the building capacity discrepancies that exist in the north and south ends of the district. According to the Romeo Observer, "the committee was made up of the 6 elementary principals, 2 middle school principals, and two parents from each elementary building. The committee met 5 times over a period of two months and came up with 5 plans".

The 5 scenarios and the agenda for the upcoming May 14th meeting, stating "boundary modification presentation", were online May 11th, Friday morning. But the agenda changed Friday afternoon, and the scenarios were removed. I raised this issue during the public comment portion of the May 14th meeting, and our superintendent stated he sent a letter home to parents that stated "for many reasons, now is not the time".

I'm curious what the many reasons might be, and why now is not the time.
Discussing this issue really seems to be in the best interest of the children. Many options for boundary changes exist that will relieve class size in the south end of the district, and potentially find some desperately needed savings. If there are indeed any benefits to boundary changes, I'm worried that removing this item from the agenda now is likely to end any hope of implementing any changes for next year because the board would be ill-advised to make these changes without adequate public discussion, and careful planning would be needed in insure a smooth transition.

If there aren't any benefits, then the reasons should be made clear to the public, and board's attention should be directed to other matters. But it's unclear how a delay benefits anyone.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that it will make it to the June 11, 2007, agenda.
posted by Jennifer L. White @ 2:02 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Election results, May 8, 2007
Election Results, May 8,2007

Jennifer L. White 1028 (24% of vote)
Michael Stobak 813 (19% of vote)
Wendy Hagerty (I) 690 (16% of vote) endorsed by REA union
Steve Hunt 476 (11% of vote) endorsed by REA union
Terry Raubacher 413 (10% of vote)
Phil Smith 326 (8% of vote)
Zachary Fowler 272 (6% of vote) pulled out of race prior to election
Sebastian Previti 204 (5% of vote)

I am very pleased with the results, the community has clearly spoken, it is time for change! I am looking forward to working with Mr. Stobak and the rest of the board.
posted by Jennifer L. White @ 5:01 AM   0 comments
Monday, May 14, 2007
Thank you voters!
Thank you voters!! I look forward to being your voice at the board table. Thank you to everyone who “spread the word”, put out signs, and offered financial support. Thank you to my hard-working, tireless “campaign manager” and her “committee”.

As we move forward, I hope to forge a good working relationship with the board so that we can effectively tackle issues that face this district, such as bonds and infrastructure, new graduation requirements, budgets and security.

One of my goals as a board member will be to increase communication in the district. I intend to keep my blog at romeokidsfirst.blogspot.com, and will post my personal thoughts on school issues so that the community can be kept informed of my views, and we can easily communicate.

Again, thank you for your support.
posted by Jennifer L. White @ 6:30 AM   0 comments
Thursday, April 26, 2007
"Open Communication" it's the new buzzword in Romeo. But can they put their money where their mouth is?
On Thursday, April 19th during the Channel 6 school board candidate interview, a question about district communication was asked of all of the candidates. All candidates agreed that the current BOE is out of touch with the district and communication needs to be improved.

On Monday, April 23 at the Board of Education meeting, Board President Dale Chesney recommended that the district put the attached board resolutions online, so the public could have access to them prior to the board meetings. The board discussed the idea; Mrs. Wreford stated it could be a problem due to typo's and Mr. Bennett stated that the resolutions change by the actual date of the board meeting anyway(drafts), so a typo wouldn't matter.

The wheels are staring to turn, but they didn't go very far. What good would it do to look at an inaccurate resolution? A better idea is for the board to discuss resolutions at a public board meeting instead of at the closed subcommittee meetings - this would give the public time to digest the information and if questions exist, they could be asked at the next board meeting, prior to the vote.

At this same meeting, public comment time was quite lengthy, several topics were discussed; the tenure of a teacher, re-districting and the removal of the PTO board at some of the elementary's. Prior to public comment the board president reminded the audience that they were only allowed 5 minutes of public comment time. As the meeting went on the "rules" were not adhered to nor acknowledged by any member of the Board of Education. There are several members of the community that step up to the podium during the public comment portion of the meeting, and it is my observation that the Board of Education seems to pick and chose who they will allow to 'break the rules'.
Why the discrimination?
Why is it some community members have the right to speak at length and others do not?

The number one fear of the American public, is public speaking . It is admirable for those who are willing to stand up for what they believe publically, it's a really tough thing to do.

The board needs to recognize this, and let the public speak equally and without retaliation from the board. They need to put their money where their mouth is and truly open up communication. Putting the attached resolutions with the board agenda is a pebble drop in a vast ocean....do the right thing and truly open communication and the district financial records!
posted by Jennifer L. White @ 6:44 PM   1 comments
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Operating behind closed doors and shutting the door to the community
Operating behind closed doors, and shutting the door to the community....

This has been my perception of the Romeo Board of Education since I began attending meetings. After listening to members of the community and other Romeo school board candidates at a "Candidate Viewpoint" meeting last night, it is evident I am not alone in thinking this is the case. This was the common thread of the evening and it was a view that everyone shared.

The current board holds most of it's board discussion during it's closed subcommittee meetings, and has little or no public discussion of agenda items prior to the vote. Is it operating behind closed doors?

Documents showing budget, expenses, or even the check register, that should be easilly accessable to the public on the districts website, are not, instead the public has to "FOIA" them, wait for a period of time, and then pay per page and employee time, this can be quite costly. The districts finances are of public matter and should be "transparent" and online. Why aren't they? Is the district operating behind closed doors?

Communications to parents are minimal or non-existant, do you know where we are financially? Do you know the districts goals? Do you know who's on your school board currently? These are questions we should all be able to answer, but this information is just not communicated to the parents.

The board's failed bond is just another example of not being in touch with the community and operating behind closed doors, if the district had truly asked the community about the bond, we could have saved ourselves the $30,000 wasted on the failed election.

The latest example of closing doors to the public is low. Two of our elementary principals have decided to take over the buildings PTO and take control of the funds they have raised (which are quite substantial!), and not allow the parents to run the PTO as they always have. Why would this be in the best interest of our students, to alienate the parents and community once again? Why are they closing doors, instead of encouraging parents to partner in their childs education?

It is a time for change, our school board needs to embrace every member of the community, they need to greatly improve communictions with the community, and truly become a community. Let's start opening doors, instead of closing them.
posted by Jennifer L. White @ 3:54 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Channel 7 News Educational Town Hall Meeting
Please take some time to visit this website before Thursday, April 19, 2007.
Channel 7 News is hosting a very important Educational Town Hall meeting with a top notch panel discussion regarding various aspects of education in the State of Michigan. A fellow advocate for educational reform in Romeo, Zoe C. Wagner, has been asked to attend and be a participant to discuss remedial education with regard to post secondary education.

http://www.wxyz.com/content/community/townhall/education/default.aspx

It should be interesting to hear the different point of views from educational experts and community members. Be sure to tune in on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 8 p.m.
posted by Jennifer L. White @ 3:14 PM   0 comments
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Name: Jennifer L. White
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