Two trustees shut out from discussing two budget-related items at their last meeting took four of their counterparts to task Monday night for drowning out a minority voice.
“It was wrong to suppress discussion by all members of the board,” said Trustee Sue Palazzo, reading from notes. Addressing President Gary Pritchard directly, she added: “How dare you put a veil of secrecy over this institution, which is responsible for the education of 48,000 students. How dare you abuse the power we entrusted to you.”
At the June 27 meeting, before it began in earnest. On both topics – and the itself – Pritchard called for a vote on Alpay’s motions, . Trustee Anna Bryson joined Palazzo and Trustee Ellen Addonizio in dissenting.
Pritchard declared the motions successful, even though .
Addonizio also commented Monday about Pritchard’s governance. In remarks made before the board addressed the evening’s agenda, she said the trustees “forced a vote" without full board consideration.
“My constituents pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and they have the right to know how their public dollars are being spent,” Addonizio said.
She asked that a number of concerns she had about the budget be added to the next agenda, among them:
- Why the budget includes a cost-of-living adjustment which officials say is not likely to come from the state
- Deficit spending
- District borrowing
- Which educational programs will be eliminated and what steps are being taken to mitigate that impact
- An explanation of why as many as 15 furlough days may be cut from the school calendar
There was no reaction from other trustees.
Later in the meeting, Superintendent Joseph Farley said, “No one likes the ideas of any of these changes we have to make because of unprecedented budget issues.”
He said he was had been working all day on a community letter that will explain the budget cuts and related decisions.