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New Beginnings Schools Foundation sets board and committee meetings this week

The last time both the New Beginnings Schools Foundation board of directors and human resources committee met, the room was full of spirited members of the public. At one meeting their thoughts and concerns were heard, but at the other, they were not.

Both the board and committee are scheduled to meet again this week.

About 25 people filled the board room at the human resources committee meeting last month. Many addressed board members in support of Executive Director of Support Services Patricia Ventura, whose job performance was expected to be discussed by the board. The committee abruptly adjourned that meeting when Ventura requested her employment be discussed in public.

One week later Ventura’s employment was again slated to be discussed. This time in executive session at the full board’s June 6 meeting. Again, many people attended, some in support of Ventura and others who wanted to voice concerns about network turnover.

The board learned one-third of school staff would not be returning in the fall and members called for a review of human resources policies and procedures.

Ventura’s name was removed from the agenda by a last-minute board vote, though network leaders did discuss New Beginnings CEO Sametta Brown in an executive session.

During that meeting the board offered only one period of public comment even though there were several action items on the agenda, which does not satisfy the state’s requirement for comment during school board meetings.

The agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting includes is an item called “Discussion of Open Meetings Law.”

The board will announce 2013-2014 board meeting dates and is expected to resume monthly meetings after having met every other month the last two years. Board chairman Tim Ryan has suggested rotating board meetings between the network’s four schools: Lake Area New Tech Early College High School, Gentilly Terrace Charter School, Pierre Capdau Charter School and Medard Nelson Charter School. The board currently meets in the network’s office.

The human resources committee will meet at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the network’s office on the fourth floor of 2045 Lakeshore Drive.

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