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Time/Date and Purpose of Event
A School Board Meeting of Chesapeake public schools was held on November 14th at 5 p.m. It was a regular monthly meeting with a pre-confirmed agenda. During the previous meeting, held on October 17th, the Superintendent outlined the proposed Capital Improvement Plan, and this meeting was aimed at hearing the different opinions on the plan.
The nine regular members of the School Board were all in attendance, including the Chairman Mr Bunn and Vice Chairman Mrs Proffit. Among the participants of the meeting were the members of the public and citizens.
The Superintendent argued for the adoption of the proposed Capital Improvement Plan, which is an annual plan for the management of capital improvements with high costs. Including an inflation factor, the cost of the plan was estimated to be more than $400000. The project included various maintenance and construction projects in different planning areas, modernization of existing facilities, upgrades to technology infrastructure, and planning for new facilities (Chesapeake Public Schools, 2016). The Superintendent stated that the implementation of the plan was necessary to maintain and improve the current schools’ arrangement and to give the students more opportunities for sports and other activities by creating more facilities.
Opposition to the plan was scarce and consisted of the general public. The main arguments against the plan were the high cost of implementation and the presence of non-urgent projects. The opposition stressed that, given the current budgeting situation, it would be wise to postpone non-urgent projects until next year. The costs saved on this action could be used for additional funding of day-to-day operations, such as providing better school lunches and ensuring adequate payment for teachers’ extra working hours.
Following the presentation by both sides, the School Board carried out a work session to determine the final action. Despite the fact that the board still approved of the CIP, it was evident that both viewpoints have been evaluated and it was promised that the issues outlined by the opposition would be addressed in future meetings.
How Policy Event Advocated for Human Rights and Social Justice
School Board meetings are an important part of the life of the educational sector of every area. The Board aims to monitor and solve various issues regarding school life by planning school budget, developing new maintenance and construction projects, approving school operating times, determining school boundaries, resolving questions regarding staff and students that cannot be solved by the administration of a single school, and implementing various policies affecting schools in the area (Chesapeake public schools, 2016). Each major decision is carried out in agreement with the general public, therefore ensuring that both sides of each issue are examined and that each decision is just: “Effective school boards have a collaborative relationship with staff and the community and establish a strong communications structure to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders in setting and achieving district goals” (Dervarics & O’Brien, 2011, sec. 1).
The Importance of Attending a Government Meeting
In democratic countries, government meetings are an opportunity for the members of the public to influence the local decision-making process. During most events, the opinion of the public is delivered, and the supervisory board evaluates this view before the final decision is made. When the view of the public is not required, however, participation in government meetings gives citizens a chance to ensure the transparency of the government’s policy or decision as well as to get valuable information from the source before official statements or press reports are released.
Chesapeake Public Schools. (2016). School board. Chesapeake Public Schools. Web.
Dervarics, C., & O’Brien, E. (2011). Eight characteristics of effective school boards: Full report. Center for Public Education. Web.