Should a school board member be allowed to participate in a meeting if they cannot be present physically? That issue is now being discussed by the Board Policies Committee based on my request. Although I am confident this measure will be passed on to the full board for a vote, it may meet with some opposition.
Although I have been in attendance for every board meeting since my election, there is always a chance that I may have to travel out of town because of my job, and I will not be able to attend a meeting in person. In such cases, I would like the option to participate in the meeting via telephone or video conference. Seems like a reasonable request, doesn't it? Corporations and non profit organizations conduct business every day with their board of directors via remote access, so why shouldn't Neshaminy? If we're boasting technology as part of our Classroom for the Future initiative, how can we not take advantage of a 19th century invention like the telephone?
While most of my fellow board members supported this idea and agreed that it be sent to Board Policies for development, some did not agree. They expressed a view that a board member should be physically present or else they should not be allowed to participate in a meeting. While I agree that being physically present at a meeting is always preferable, it's difficult to imagine in this day and age that anyone would deny an elected official the ability to use modern (or even not-so-modern) technology so that his/her voice can be heard.
I should also mention that the state supreme court is on my side with their ruling of Babac v. Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (Pa. 1992).
This issue will be discussed at the next Board Policies meeting on Wednesday, October 15th at 6pm in the Board Room at Maple Point. I would most sincerely appreciate some support from citizens who believe as I do, so I hope to see you there. In the meantime, you can chime in on this subject by completing the Readers Poll to the right.