Our Schools and Community, in my Opinion

Addressing the subject of attendance at Board of Education meetings.

Many thanks to all of you who have read my , commented, and recommended it. I appreciate your time, thoughtful ideas, and your interest in our community and schools.

I agree that attendance at BOE meetings is so important. Most people don't go to BOE meetings. As I casually ask why that is, the most common answers I receive are that "it is a waste time", "the BOE doesn't care what I have to say anyway", and "it is intimidating". I understand completely. This was one of my concerns in ; the feeling of disconnect between the BOE and the residents. There is a feeling among many that the BOE is on a pedestal and the residents are just looking up from the ground waaaay below.

Let me remind you all, that these people on the BOE are elected. They are people, not deity. They make mistakes, they occasionally need help, they make tough decisions. Throughout the history of the district, the ones who have been there for the right reasons should be commended for their volunteerism. However, remember, they should be representing you, considering all needs, and your voices should be heard. They have to make decisions, but your VOICE counts just as much as your VOTE. This is NOT a time for complacency.

For those who have never been to a BOE meeting, I just want to describe one briefly to alleviate any “fear” of the unknown, and encourage you to join in even if you don't want to speak.

They're usually in the . There is parking in the parking lot behind the school. You can enter through the back doors.

There will be folding chairs set up for attendees facing the BOE. The BOE sits at long tables facing the audience. A podium for speakers (residents, presenters, etc), faces the BOE.

Meeting agendas are on a table in front of the BOE. You may take one if you would like to. They just list the order of events in the meeting (speakers, school presentations, reports,etc.).

Attendees usually include a sampling of residents. You may see your neighbor, your child's teacher, or a friend you haven't seen in a long time. You may meet others who have the same concerns and views as you do.

If you would like to speak, there is a time allotted for that as well. It's part of the agenda, and the BOE President will ask if there are comments or questions when appropriate (in conjunction with the agenda).

If you choose to speak, you go up to the podium, state your name, and then you have two minutes to say your piece. If you are nervous, I suggest you have something written to read from. The BOE and/or the superintendent may comment.

And that is it. You will learn a lot even if you just go to observe. I encourage all residents! Hope to see you there!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marnie Papele February 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Craig if you attended a meeting or made a point to get all the facts you would be clear as to why this is not the best approach. If you have a child in this district you should make it a priority to do so. This is not the answer that some would like to make it seem like. Closing a school at what cost to the kids? By closing one or two middle schools will no way make up the difference the district is looking to save...not even close. Closures will not...repeat...will not lower your taxes. Your taxes will still go up. Middle school(s) and the elementary schools will become overcrowded and the district will need to be rezoned to make room. Children will spend more time on buses and increase our busing costs. Classes will be larger, middle school students will not have the ability to switch from class to class and lunch periods will have to start shortly after arrival to get everyone feed . These are just the obvious. Lets not forget then you have abandoned buildings that need security. They will become eye sores to the community and liabilities waiting to happen. The savings certainly don't out weight the cost to our kids. They should not be the only ones making sacrifice after sacrifice.
Patchogue February 11, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I understand. I thought it as a well thought out plan from what I read. My kids are in the school District. I don't expect my taxes to go down. I except the budget to be managed with care though. I expected changes with the new superintendent and people are resisted to change, but on its face, it sounded logical. I don't mean to attack, but I do expect change in the District. I do appreciate you posting when the BOE are held. It is a good point. I should attend.
Patchogue February 16, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Anybody know if this guy was caught today? This is a message from Mr. Locantore, Superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District: This message is to inform the community that at approximately 8:50 a.m. today we received information from the police department that a burglary had taken place in the immediate area surrounding the high school. The police were chasing the perpetrator on foot and as a precautionary and safety measure I implemented a lock-out for Tremont, Oregon, and the high school.
Christine Rignola February 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I haven't heard anything more about it than what Mr. Locantore has already said.
Christine Rignola February 25, 2012 at 05:35 PM
****VENUE CHANGE*** March 5th Board of Education Budget Meeting will be held at Saxton Middle School, not South Ocean Middle School.


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