SPARTA, NJ – On Monday night, the Sparta Board of Education voted to eliminate the work session meetings for September, October and November on Monday night. The regular meetings will be held as planned.
Business Administrator Linda Alvarez explained that the board would be holding three meetings in those months for creating a District Long Range Strategic Plan.
“We want to encourage community participation in the long range strategic planning meetings. We don’t want to have them have to choose which meeting to attend,” said Alvarez.
The work sessions have been an on-again, off-again thing, depending on the make-up of the Board of Education, for the past decade. Proponents of the work session point to endeavor to hold two shorter meetings; work session to discuss committee meeting minutes and other agenda items in detail and the regular meeting to simply be an action meeting.
The expectation has been that voting will take place during the regular meeting.
Having two meetings has not always met the stated goal of brevity. It has not been uncommon for both meetings to stretch into three or four hours or more.
Past proponents of the single meeting point to the format of the board. The Sparta Board of Education functions as a board of committees. Each member is assigned to serve on one or more committees by the board president, according to the bylaws. The committee discusses the agenda items relevant to their committee and, where appropriate, makes a recommendation to the full board.
The committee reports are made available to all nine board members. The full board then has discussion and takes action at the regular meeting.
The standing committees are Personnel, Curriculum, Finance and Operations. Others, such as Negotiations, are created as needed. Kim Yoeman is the only board member not serving on a committee. She declined her assignment.
The long range strategic planning meetings will be held at the media center of Sparta High School on September 23, October 22 and November 19. The meetings will be moderated by representative from New Jersey School Board’s Association. Those in attendance will participate in small group discussions working to develop the long range goals.