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SCHOOLS: Already violating policy

| November 14, 2010 9:00 PM

I've had concerns about recent proposed changes to Coeur d'Alene School Board policies involving public comment and recordings at their meetings. So I took the time to attend their Policy Advisory Committee meeting on Nov. 4, 2010. I also reviewed school board policies regarding the procedures for adopting and implementing new policies. Here are a few things I learned:

There is a detailed procedure the school board must follow to change a policy. There has to be a first public reading of the proposed new policy at a board meeting, followed by a 28-day public comment period, review by a Policy Advisory Committee, and finally adoption of the new policy at a second meeting of the school board.

The proposed new policies affecting public comment and public recording of board meetings had an official "first reading" at the Sept. 7, 2010, meeting. On Nov. 8, 2010, the Policy Advisory Committee voted to recommend adoption of the new policies after little discussion. The next step in the process will be further board consideration and (I predict) adoption of the new policies at the Dec. 6, 2010, meeting.

One Policy Advisory Committee member noted that existing policy requires that new policies be adopted BEFORE they are implemented. The school board is in violation of Policy 204, because they have already implemented their proposed new policies limiting public comment and recording, before adopting the new policies.

Changes to Policy 215 also deserve comment. First, background checks for staff who will have contact with our children must now be completed no later than five days AFTER new hires are already on the job and in contact with your kids. No adequate explanation was given as to why background checks can't be completed BEFORE new hires have access to our kids. Additionally, although Policy 215 requires excluding children with infectious/contagious diseases from school, one member observed this policy is routinely not enforced. Edie Brooks, chair of the committee, terminated the discussion.

DUNCAN KOLER

Hayden Lake

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