In an effort to attract more parents and members of the community, the Columbia School Board plans to move its meetings to schools twice in the coming academic year.
Board members hope that by holding meetings in schools, more people will attend, said board president J.C. Headley.
This coming school year, two of the board’s meetings will be held in an elementary or middle school rather than at the administration building at 1818 W. Worley St. Having members of the community at the meetings helps parents and the public feel connected to the school and keep a sense of ownership, Headley said.
“The board had a general consensus that this would be a good opportunity to get out into the community and have local parents come to the meetings,” he said.
At a board meeting July 9, members discussed the cost of recording and televising the meetings held in schools — the board now does both from the administration building. Board member David Ballenger said he didn’t care if the meetings were recorded, but was more concerned with the board being more visible and accessible to the community.
At the same meeting, Superintendent Phyllis Chase reminded the board of the benefits of recording the meetings and said she would hate to lose the ability to see exactly what was said.
Exactly how to record the meetings at schools has not been decided. The board is likely to hear recommendations from the administration on where and when the meetings should take place, as well as how to record them at the next regular meeting on Sept. 13, Headley said.
After the two meetings, the board will evaluate the effectiveness of the moves and decide whether to increase them. The board normally meets twice a month throughout the year.
Kathy Williams, former president of the Lange Middle School PTA and mother of a junior at Hickman High School, said she didn’t think more people would come to the meetings held in schools. She said typically the parents who attend the board meetings are the same people who are always active in the schools.
“You either make a conscious decision to attend these events or you don’t,” Williams said.