School Board scraps the standing committee system | Beaufort County Now | The Beaufort County Board of Educations, at its regular monthly meeting March 19, 2013 voted 7-1 to abandon its traditional standing committee system.

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School Board scraps the standing committee system

    Publisher's Note: This article originally appeared in the Beaufort Observer.

    The Beaufort County Board of Educations, at its regular monthly meeting March 19, 2013 voted 7-1 to abandon its traditional standing committee system. Heretofore, the board met once a month in regular session, sometimes in special session and then each of two standing committees met a couple of weeks before the regular meeting. Those committees were the Personnel & Curriculum Committee and the Building and Grounds Committee. Those two standing committees will be abolished under this new plan of organization. Eltha Booth voted no and Mac Hodges was absent.

    The Beaufort Observer has in the past been critical of the committee structure. We were because it was obvious that most of the real decision-making took place in the committees and the regular monthly meeting was more or less a ratification of what happened in the committee meetings.

    But the committee meetings were not videoed. So the public was barred from seeing and hearing what was done. Moreover, only half the board members—those on that committee—were really involved in the detailed deliberations and decisions.

    The Superintendent surveyed neighboring school systems and found that most school boards use the information/action format.

    With the election of a new chair and vice-chair, the problem has been addressed. Now, under the new organizational structure, the full board will meet in an "informational-type" meeting several days before the "action-meeting." That will not prohibit action at either meeting, or information dissemination at either meeting, but what it will do is insure that each board member has access to all of the information that any other board member has and hopefully if the County Commission will budget for it, both meetings will be videoed.

   You can watch the discussion and vote in the video below:



    Commentary

    We commend the board for taking this action. If all goes according to plan the public should have a slightly wider window through which to see how the board governs our schools. That's a good thing.

    Now, if they would just eat supper before they get to the meeting and move the closed session to the end they would just about fix what's been wrong with this board's meeting arrangements for some time. (They have been using the closed session, with the cameras shut down, to eat a taxpayer funded meal at each meeting—just like the County Commissioners do). But at least this is a good move in the right direction.
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