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Minutes are school board concern

Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 11:00 am

Meeting minutes were a hot topic at the July meeting of the Westmoreland County School Board. The meeting kicked off with a number of amendments to the previous month’s meeting minutes. wmcps

During the public comments portion, Heather Straughan also brought attention to the discrepancy between the draft minutes and the final approved minutes of the April 28 meeting.

This April meeting was the largely attended meeting held at Montross Middle School, where many students, teachers, parents and community members came to speak out against the decision to transfer several teachers.

Straughan told the board that she was upset to see that in the final approved minutes the public comments were summarized. Highlighting that these minutes are provided for people to see that could not attend the meeting, Straughan expressed concern that minimizing and summarizing the comments took away from what the speakers said, did not give an accurate representation of the public comments portion and did not give adequate importance to the comments. She questioned the board as to why this was done.

This particular meeting lasted over three hours and over twenty people spoke during the public comments portions.

On the draft minutes, under each speaker’s name is a full description of everything they said. In the approved minutes, there is a list of everyone who spoke and a separate list numbered 1-11 summarizing all the comments into brief statements. The public comments portion took up five pages in the draft minutes, but was summarized into less than a page for the approved minutes.