Letter: BOE chair needs to read Town Charter, bylaws

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to the Board of Education chair, Loretta Chory’s, Letter to the Editor on April 14. Mrs. Chory said my statements were “false” regarding the BOE withholding information. The truth of the matter is that she has withheld supplemental information by not following the Charter, Chapter II Section 5B, which requires all boards, commissions, and committees to provide to the public any supplemental information that is to be discussed at a public meeting and that those documents are to be available to the public 48 hours in advance of the meeting. This violation of the Charter’s 48-hour requirement has occurred multiple times either at Regular Board meetings or at BOE subcommittee meetings in the months of December 2015 and January through April of this year. I have written Mrs. Chory inquiring about missing supplemental information — nothing changed. Mrs. Chory in her Letter to the Editor also said to reach out to her with any questions. I have reached out to her by way of public comment and again via email regarding how a parent is to provide feedback if we do not know what is to be presented? No reply.

Furthermore, the BOE Bylaws, Article III, Section 12 state that, “Comments and questions…” are allowed. Mrs. Chory, at the onset as chair, removed ‘questions’ from the agenda. I have brought this to her attention, still no questions are allowed. She has publicly stated in meetings, “We don’t take questions.”

I suspect that Mrs. Chory has read the Bylaws and the Charter — she just does not want to follow them.

Mrs. Chory went on to write and tells the public what I ‘should know’. I do believe I know many of the rules but it appears she does not. Although Mrs. Chory has been on the BOE for the past seven (7) years I suggest that she go on-line and review the Charter and BOE Bylaws rather than place in the paper defamatory and false comments toward a parent that advocates for education and asks for transparency. As for accountability, Mrs. Chory, as one of her first initiatives, included a review of the BOE Bylaws. One item of business discussed at the first BOE Bylaws subcommittee on April 13 was the discussion surrounding writing into the Bylaws that BOE members may call into meetings, avoiding being physically present. Nearly a $100 million BOE budget, 6,800 students, and nine schools and being physically present to discuss important topics is not warranted.  

The rules are simple and clearly delineated yet are not followed leaving the public without information, as was the case for the Bylaw Subcommittee meeting Agenda. When it comes to providing the public information, FOIA regulations, the Charter, and the BOE Bylaws are just to have on file and not to be followed, and soon enough Board members will not have to be present at meetings. Transparency?
Susan LaFrance