Thursday, May 2, 2013

LASD holds strategy meeting: Public excluded

Next week, LASD will hold a meeting of their Blueprint Committee.   This group gathers periodically to consider the LASD mission, and how best to fulfill it.  We consider progress against existing goals, set new targets, and generally discuss how we'd like to move forward.  The public will not be permitted to attend this meeting.

Outraged?  Of course you are.  Well, you would be if it were true.  LASD is a public school district, and we conduct our business in the public eye.  We invite the public to everything from our Board Meetings to Budget Review Committee, to District Curriculum Council, to the Superintendent's Task Force on Enrollment Growth.  Yes, the public even attends our Blueprint Committee meetings.

Imagine my surprise, then (ok, well, at least my disappointment) that BCS is once again holding meetings to which they specifically have excluded the general public. 

Last night and tonight, May 1 and May 2, BCS will be holding a two part meeting to discuss their school culture, and how to preserve that culture across the Blach-Egan split-site configuration.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to listen to BCS parents discuss their school.  There's a lot to learn here, and I'm interested in hearing the dialogue.  Sadly, BCS has once again excluded the public.  I reached out to a BCS Board member to let him know I was planning to attend.  He informed me that I was not welcome.

This is in direct violation of the various laws that apply to public schools.  For quite some time, it appeared that the meeting would be *at* BCS, but I believe they moved the meeting at the last minute in response to at least some of the issues I raised.  However, the change in venue doesn't address the fundamental fact that a public entity cannot hold meetings and choose which part of the public it invites.  If you've invited all BCS parents, then the rest of the public is equally entitled to attend.

I have raised my concerns to the County Board, although I don't believe they will be taking direct action on this issue.  In that message, I also copied my emails to the BCS Board Member.  However, he has specifically requested that I not publish his replies, so I won't be posting those here.  [Note added 5/7/2013:  I've been asked by folks about the response I received from BCS.  I can confirm that the reply I received from them did nothing to suggest that the venue was anyplace other than the BCS campus.] 

Letter to the County Board
My letter requesting to attend meeting
My reply upon being denied

And in case you're thinking "gee, this sounds like  a repeat of his earlier blog post.  Perhaps he's just wiring in more detail."  I'm not- this has now happened twice in the space of a couple of weeks.  I remain convinced that the BCS organization just doesn't understand what it means to be a public school.

[please note:  There is no LASD Blueprint meeting next week.  Not a public one, and certainly not a private one.  it was for example purposes only.  When we have them, though, the community is definitely welcome to attend.]