To the editor,

I attended the BOE meeting on June 21st and am deeply concerned about the state of our board. To start off, they held a COW meeting (6pm) on the same night as a public meeting (scheduled for 8pm). They had student presentations at the COW and retiree presentations at the public meeting. That is a lot to get through, now add an executive session that ran longer than expected. They came out of that at 8:30 and still needed to address and approve the policies on the COW agenda... The public meeting didn't start until close to 10pm. This was disrespectful to the teachers and administrators being honored. 
Policies were trying to be approved with the first reading in the COW meeting and the second reading during the public meeting. This is not common practice and should not be allowed. There was no opportunity for anyone in the audience to see or review the policies. Thankfully, at the start of the public meeting they were tabled until July.
In particular, several BOE members were pushing through a change to policy 9210, parent organizations. They want to limit the involvement of BOE members in those organizations, where they cannot be officers or serve on executive committees. What these disgruntled members fail to realize is that as BOE members and as members/officers of parent organizations and other volunteer positions, they are doing it for the children of our community. If they are officers of the other organizations, it should have no impact on their ability to be an effective BOE member too. 
Mr. Cassio stated that as a board member when he goes into Roosevelt school the teachers and staff are afraid of him. Does this mean that all board members should stay at home unless they are attending a BOE meeting? Seems pretty drastic.

The state ethics committee determined that there is no conflict of interest. If we defer to the state for everything else that is said or done by a board member, why is this different? In fact, I would like to know how the ethics committee would rule on board members bullying others into voting one way or another. As someone from the public mentioned during the meeting, we don't allow bullying in our schools, why should we allow it on the board.
I strongly urge the BOE to throw out the changes presented for policy 9210 during your July meeting. The organizations affected by this change will suffer and the children will suffer. Is that really your intended outcome? All of the members of the audience who spoke up during the meeting were not in favor of this change.

I also would like to see more of the public at these meetings. We need to keep these people in check. They represent us, our children and the schools. My kids aren't in school anymore, but as a tax payer and citizen, I want to know that we are doing the best for the community. Come join me at the July meeting.
Al Lepore