Friday, August 5, 2011

D-12 school board meets at private residence

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 5:19 PM

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At the beginning of the week, the board of education of Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 held a special meeting. On the agenda: two discussion items, described as “The November 1st 2011 El Paso County Coordinated Election,” and “District 12 Long-Range Plan Priorities for 2011-2012.”

Anyone who pays attention to school boards could read between the lines. Clearly, the members of the board would be discussing a possible mill-levy increase.

For District 12 residents, that might mean higher property taxes. But what’s most interesting about the agenda is not its content, but the location of the meeting.

It took place at “The Jack Wiepking Residence” at 5 p.m. Monday. Wiepking happens to be the chair of the D-12 board of education.

Maybe this was intended to be a retreat for board members, an opportunity for informal discussions and the kind of give and take that is usually constrained by the presence of inquisitive weasels from the media, not to mention members of the public.

That’s fine — but this was billed as a public meeting.

It’s bizarrely inappropriate to hold a public meeting, especially one which may include discussions about a potential tax increase, at a private residence, let alone the home of one of the board members.

It’s summer. It’s not as if every potential meeting room in every school in the district was somehow unavailable. And D-12, serving thousands of students in some of the most affluent neighborhoods in Colorado, is a substantial public enterprise.

But it looks as if things went just as planned. Apparently dismayed by the unexpected appearance of a couple of outsiders, the board deferred the discussion items until the end of the month, and spent the rest of the “meeting” socializing.

And here’s a lesson for all of our elected officials.

Don’t meet in public facilities - just in selected private residences. Choose ones in upscale neighborhoods, preferably in gated communities, surrounded by high walls, with angry mastiffs ready to chase down any intruders. You’ll be able to do business quickly, privately, and efficiently ... and even have a few drinks afterward!

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