A commentary by
Linglestown Gazette publisher Bill Bostic, aka B²
There exists a Grand Canyon-sized difference of opinion between Central Dauphin school board members and the public on whether the board goes about its work in an open and transparent way.
If you took a poll, school board members would give themselves a unanimous thumbs-up and the public probably would say “are you freaking kidding me?”
Does the board deserve this bad rap? Probably not, but elected bodies that have the power to tax are going to be held in low esteem by most people.
More to the point, I believe the board consistently does things that don’t help their cause one iota.
The biggest one, in my opinion, is holding secret, behind-closed-door meetings prior to every public meeting and not giving taxpayers a hint on what their huddling over. This practice has a long history in the district and is not one used by other local governmental bodies that I’ve been associated with.
And it doesn’t help that board members rarely interact in a meaningful way with citizens who are gutsy enough to address the board during the public comment portion of meetings.
If you locked me in a room and interrogated me about the board’s performance, I would confidently say that the jury is still out on whether the board deserves the low grades on openness and integrity, and I want to work to put this issue to bed.
And that work is under way.
I helped start Citizens for CD Schools last fall for starters. And Tuesday evening, that’s March 26, the group is bringing in an expert to educate the public and school officials about state laws that govern the way school boards conduct public meetings. Please consider attending. I promise you it will be painless and worth your while.
The meeting will start at 7 pm at the Lower Paxton Township Municipal Building located at 425 Prince Street in Colonial Park.
I’m not playing a game of gotcha with school officials by raising these issues. The goal simply is to help the board get to a better place with the public so everyone can focus on providing the very best education for our kids.