The Monticello School Board is changing its meeting format in an effort to have board members spend more time together working as a team for the betterment of the Monticello School District.
Moving forward, the board will meet twice each month, on the first and third Mondays of each month.
The first meeting will be in the format of a 5 p.m. workshop, with discussions of issues but no voting. This meeting will be open to the public, but will not be live-streamed on the District’s YouTube page.
Sub-committee meetings will be held prior to and following the first meeting of the month.
The second meeting will be of the traditional business meeting format, with formal voting and approval or denial of items before the board. This meeting is open to the public and will be live-streamed on the District’s YouTube channel. This meeting will resemble the current school board meetings.
The format change will allow school board members to discuss matters, collaborate, deliberate and have all six members in a room together on a more regular basis, said Clay Sawatzke, communications director for the Monticello School District. Presently, much of the work of the school board is done among three members through a committee or sub-committee system Sawatzke noted.
The new format, which was sought out by members of the school board, will allow members of the school board to discuss matters more thoroughly as a group of six.
The Monticello School District turned to other school districts using similar formats in formulating the new school board meeting policies, Sawatzke said.
Benefits of the new formats include more opportunities for full-board discussions and deliberations, a more compact board meeting schedule with the removal of Tuesday sub-committee meetings, and the following of a format that has been met with great success in Buffalo and Elk River, Sawatzke said.
School Board member Jamie Sieben said she is personally excited about the new format.
“We will have more time to discuss things all together,” Sieben said.
Sieben also looks forward to the public being able to attend meetings and see that discussion, as opposed to the current process of seeing a vote on an action item at the board meeting that has been discussed at the committee level on many, many occasions out of the public eye.
School Board Chair Jeff Hegle added, “I think its going to be good.”
So many times, school administrators are left to interpret what members of a school board committee meant in bring a measure forward to the full board for a vote. The new process will allow board members to have communication with everyone involved in a process while promoting the sharing of ideas, Hegle said.
School Board member Kathy Ziebarth raised a question about content on the agenda of the first monthly meeting.
Ziebarth was told that from time to time a short agenda of business items could find its way onto the agenda of the first monthly meeting if the action item cannot wait until the third Monday of the month.
Both Supt. Eric Olson and Sawatzke said any suggest action items to be heard at that first meeting would be posted in advance on the school district website and wherever else school board meeting agendas are posted.
Ziebarth also wanted to make it clear that both meetings will be open to the public, but just the second meeting will be streamed live on the school district’s YouTube page.
A motion to accept the new meeting format was made by Ziebarth and seconded by Jennifer Lewis Kannegieter. The measure passed on a 6-0 vote.
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org