School Board Eyes Night Meetings

NEWARK – School board members continue to discuss the possibility of adding more night meetings to the annual calendar.

School board member Katie Addis again asked her fellow Worcester County Board of Education members last week to consider scheduling three more evening meetings. Other board members said it was something to be explored.

“Rather than approve three at this one time I’d like us to take some time to see where we can best fit them in,” board member Bill Gordy said.

While most school board meetings are held at 12:30 p.m. each month, in recent years the board has made an effort to schedule two or three night meetings each year in response to public requests. Last Tuesday, at one of those night meetings, some parents used the public comment portion of one of those night meetings to request others. Area resident Kate McCloskey said maybe a third or half of the annual meetings could be held in the evenings.

“I enjoyed hearing from parents who could only comes to a meeting at night,” she said.

When it came time for comments from the board, Addis said she’d like to see more night meetings. She reminded her peers she’d made a motion last month to add more evening meetings to the calendar and hadn’t gotten a second.

“That is very disheartening to me,” she said. “I’m going to make a motion tonight to add three more to our schedule for next year. Keep in mind these added night meetings would not fall on heavy student recognition meetings.”

She subsequently made a motion to add evening meetings in September, November and either February or June.

Her motion failed to receive a second but Gordy said he wasn’t opposed to the idea of adding additional evening meetings. He said he just wanted to be sure they were scheduled for months when they’d be feasible.

“I’d like to have some more discussion about where we can fit them in,” he said. “We do have some fairly firm ideas about why we can’t have a lot of night meetings.”

In the past, school system administration has cited the student recognitions that take place as one of the reasons for hosting daytime meetings, as it would be harder to have students in attendance in the evenings.

“I’m not saying more night meetings are a bad idea I just didn’t want to take on three more at this time,” Gordy said.

Todd Ferrante, president of the board, said the issue could be discussed at a future meeting.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.