The often-scathing blog Portland Public Schools Equity has a great post today about the lack of public discussion among school board members over last night's appointment of their newest member, the Oregonian-endorsed Martin Gonzalez.
The vote wasn't a surprise - Gonzalez was the only candidate with a lot of experience who agreed with the school board's controversial policies (like the district's transfer policy). But check out PPS Equity's take on the appointment meeting:
When approving the process for appointing a new member, the vote was 5-1. Sonja Henning voted "no," but during board discussion of the issue, she deferred. "I don't need to say it here," she said.
After the meeting adjourned and the cameras and microphones were turned off, two of her board colleagues joined her for a discussion that greatly exceeded the length of the official board meeting.
Doesn't the public have a right to know why she voted?? Isn't public deliberation a fundamental piece of the democratic process?
The Board wound up unanimously voting to approve Gonzalez - but the lack of any discussion in public does make you wonder what sorts of concerns and ideas are being vetted in the back room rather than in front of the mics.
I've left messages for Sonja to ask why she decided to keep her dissenting thoughts off the record. But it's the Friday before a three day weekend, so who knows when we'll hear back. If ever.
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