On March 12, 2015 The Argus Foundation sent a letter to the Sarasota County School Board requesting the topics from the scheduled March 17, 2015 Monthly Work Session be discussed in the regular Board Meeting Room and also be televised (see attached letter).
“It is important that all stakeholders get to watch, listen, and voice their opinion on the entire Superintendent Selection Process from beginning to end,” said The Argus Foundation President Joe Hembree. “The School Board has previously made a public commitment to televise all discussions on issues of substance. All of the topics on Tuesday’s agenda certainly qualify as very substantive.”
The letter, sent to School Board Chair Frank Kovach, lists each issue on the agenda and the lack of information available prior to the discussions. “The items of concern include the Superintendent Selection Process, the Emphasis for the Financial Advisory Committee for this Year, Parent Liaison/Parent Advocacy, Enrollment Counts, and an item marked ‘Other’. These agenda items have no information available other than their title. There is no description, recommendation, or attachments available online to allow a member of the public to be put on proper notice or understand the discussion.”
The letter also singles out 2 issues as being particularly important. “The Superintendent Selection Process and the Financial Advisory Committee discussions should be open and accessible to everyone. Any discussions on these items, whether informative in nature or preliminary, are important ones and we feel strongly that the public should be informed and have easy access to view. The public should be able to have input on these issues and the only way that can be done is to make sure that all discussions are televised and accessible beyond a conference room and an audio recording which must be separately requested and paid for.”
The Argus Foundation has focused on education policy as an important subject directly related to quality of life in Sarasota County for several years. Argus believes strong public schools makes for a strong community.
The Argus Foundation is a non-profit organization established in Sarasota in 1983 that seeks to bring together business leaders from diverse industries and leverage their talents and experience to benefit the community and facilitate communications between the public and private sector. The organization has more than 170 members from 50 different industries.