Friday March 22, 2013

DAWSON RASPUZZI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Those who regularly tune in to local school board meetings may have to rearrange their schedules. In an effort to create consistencies and reduce the number of days administrators must dedicate preparing for meetings, Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union is implementing Wednesday meetings for all of its member districts.

The change has been slowly implemented in recent months with some districts making the change already and the rest expected to adapt to a new meeting time by April.

In the past, the six-member school district boards and the SVSU board have held regular monthly meetings that ranged from Mondays through Thursdays -- sometimes all in the same week.

"What we are trying to do is get a consistent schedule of meetings for all of the boards so that we’re not all tied up throughout the entire week," Superintendent Catherine McClure explained at a recent North Bennington school board meeting.

The new schedule allows administrators more time to gather information and prepare for meetings. In the past, officials have said, it has sometimes been difficult to prepare for a meeting on the day after another district meets. The new schedule is designed to give administrators the same time before every meeting to prepare documents, retrieve requested information and gather any other information.

"Putting everything on Wednesday would preserve some protected time, so to speak, to ensure preparation," McClure said.

With four Wednesdays in most months, and seven school boards, the new schedule will require some meetings to overlap in time. In those cases, McClure will attend one board meeting and Assistant Superintendent Donna Leep will attend the other in her place.

The new schedule calls for the districts of Bennington and Woodford to meet the first Wednesday of each month; Shaftsbury and North Bennington to meet the second Wednesday; Pownal and Mount Anthony Union to meet the third Wednesday; and SVSU on the fourth Wednesday.

The schedule only makes room for districts’ regular monthly meetings. When a district requires a second meeting in a month it is likely to be scheduled on another day. Committee meetings, such as the SVSU Policy Committee or district finance committees, may also likely meet other days of the week.

For updated meeting schedules and school board materials, visit www.svsu.org.

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at draspuzzi@benningtonbanner.com or follow on Twitter @DawsonRaspuzzi