Einstein school leaders call for more transparency

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Members of Einstein Charter School’s Governance and Finance Committee want the board of directors to be even more transparent during its monthly meetings.

At a committee meeting Tuesday, member Zachary Wool suggested that the board attach a description of Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law, along with the charter’s bylaws, to every meeting agenda notice.

He also wanted to laminate copies of those documents and post them on both locations of the school.

Part of the reason for clarifying the law is so that the board can reserve the right not to field questions in the middle of the meeting, in case a large groups of the general public start suddenly flocking to the meetings. Only a handful of guests have shown up for any one meeting thus far, so the board generally takes questions at any time.

“We don’t have to allow any public comment or questions during the meeting,” Wool said. “Public comment has to be allowed before a vote is taken. If parents suddenly start showing up at that meeting, they’re not going to know that.”

On that note, Wool said that he would like more parents to be aware of the meetings. He suggested that the board meetings appear on school calendars that are sent home with students.

“Maybe parents don’t know that they can come and comment,” Wool said.

Board President Ryan Bennett agreed.

“A year ago we committed to being as transparent as possible, and this is being really clear about how to access this information,” Bennett said.

Wool also suggested that the board allow parents to join and become members.

The committee discussed options for recruiting new members. Board member Kathy Litchfield recently resigned.

Bennett wanted to focus on getting at least nine members who weren’t parents on the board, before considering that option. After Litchfield’s resignation, Einstein’s board has seven members.*

“If we get to 11 members, I’m comfortable having parents,” Bennett said. “With nine, I’m not sure.”

Bennett suggested the board join either the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools or the High Bar in order to get assistance with member recruitment.

Committee members said they’d compare the organizations and discuss the option at the next meeting.

Ryan Bennett, Laurin Jacobsen, Zachary Wool and Douglas Guidry were present. The Board Governance and Finance Committee meeting lasted for about an hour.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Einstein’s board had only six members after Litchfield’s resignation. The board has seven members. (Oct. 3, 2013) 

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