The Francis Howell Board of Education could be having fewer meetings in the next school year.
Citing a need to ease the workload of the administration and staff, a proposal was presented during Thursday's meeting that would cut the amount of meetings during the next school year in half. Instead of meeting twice a month, the revised schedule would have the Board meet just once a month.
Superintendent Pam Sloan said the administration is constantly working to prep for Board meetings. Once a meeting ends on Thursday, the next day work begins for the next meeting. Sloan said that a lot of regular agenda items like financial reports can easily be moved to a once-a-month schedule.
The Board, however, wasn't entirely behind the idea. Vice President Mark Lafata has long used his position on the dais to request shorter meetings, wondered how doubling up would impact meeting times.
Lafata said the District would not be well served if the Board is regularly making decisions at 11 p.m.
"There's not been too many nights we've walked out of here at a decent hour," he said.
Board member Mike Hoehn said that less isn't more, but more is more. He said the District could be better served with more shorter meetings than one long meeting.
Former Board President Mike Sommer was not in favor of the plan, either. Sommer said that by meeting once a month, all the information for two meetings would be combined into one—an information overload. He said that with the seven-member Board all having full-time jobs, the amount of information would be hard to process fully before the meeting.
Sommer also added that he felt like the decision would take away some power from the Board by having them meet less. Board member Cynthia Bice said she didn't feel like the power would be taken away from the Board—they'd still be meeting and still voting on everything. She said the Board should just try it and see if they like it.
In the end, the Board was faced with the two options, but Sommer pointed out only one would let them try the once-a-month option. He said that if the Board chose to meet one time and didn't like it, it would then have to call a special session every other week to get the second meeting on the schedule. By approving the current format, the Board can choose to cancel meetings.
The Board voted 7-0 in favor to keep the twice-a-month format, but said it would try out meeting just once.