DD2’s Bond Referendum Citizen Oversight Committee is being rebranded as the Yes4Schools Public Advisory Committee.
Justin Farnsworth, current chairman of the committee, along with Christine LaRue, vice-chairman, approached the board during its scheduled board meeting June 23 to deliver its Oversight Committee report, during which Farnsworth made the request to rename the committee.
The Oversight Committee was organized by the school board just over a year ago, according to Farnsworth. In that time the committee has struggled with its identity, with questions concerning its role, authorities granted and access to information ahead of time.
Farnsworth said these concerns essentially “spiraled out of control” and created a non-productive, negative face for the committee.
“We want to turn that around, and we want to be a positive, vibrant group of volunteers,” Farnsworth told board members.
LaRue said the committee would like to be rebranded as the Yes4Schools Public Advisory Committee because the name has “a positive connotation”; LaRue said “Yes4Schools” was the public referendum name the district already used.
While current members of the committee are invited to be a part of Yes4Schools, the committee also wants to invite all School Improvement Council Chairmen, PTA presidents and student council presidents and vice presidents from the high schools.
The committee will be meeting every other month unless called by the school board for more timely feedback. At those meetings the committee will discuss present timelines, projects status, money spent and any other pertinent items related to the building program.
“We want to be part of a positive feedback loop,” LaRue said. “We’ve had some challenges in the past and we want all of this to be positive and continue with good communication.”
In addition, Farnsworth announced his resignation as current chairman of the committee. Bill Everett, current co-chair of the committee, was absent from the board meeting but submitted a written statement asking to be appointed chairman, effective July 1. Everett plans to serve one year before the Advisory Committee members submit recommendations to the board for the following year’s leadership. This will continue until all projects are completed or funds spent.
The board approved the new name. Board member Tanya Robinson said she loves the new name.
“I think it’s very positive and that’s what we started it out as – Yes4Schools,” she said. “Advisory is what we need.”
Robinson also supports extending the invitation out to PTA presidents to attend meetings.
“They’ll be frank and honest, and also great worker bees,” she said.
Board member Barbara Crosby likes the idea of including presidents and vice presidents from the high schools.
“I think they can give some wonderful insight into how things are going, and how they’re working or not working,” she said. “I think that’s a great idea.”
The board also voted to accept Farnsworth’s resignation “as information”; since the committee is its own governing entity Farnsworth will be providing a written letter of resignation to the committee’s officers as well.