Special School Board meeting and workshop with Jim Weigel Agenda
8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Workshop items to discuss:
1. Governance models
2. Policy governance
3. Monitoring reports
4. Communication linkages
5. Goals and results from previous Board of Education
Special Board meeting
1. Public comments
2. Acceptance of resignation of Pat Gleason
3. Procedure for filling board director vacancy for District 4
4. Formally direct initiation of internal investigation
Reconvene board workshop
Adjourn for evening
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School Board will hold its first meeting today since angry e-mails sent by John DeVincentis became public.
The board meets at 8:30 a.m. today with Jim Weigel, a consultant with the Colorado Association of School Boards, to work on communication and governance. The board also will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. to accept Pat Gleason's resignation from the board, discuss the process for replacing him and launch an internal investigation into how the DeVincentis e-mails were released to the Pilot & Today.
Numerous community leaders have called on DeVincentis to resign his seat on the School Board, including past School Board members, current and former City Council members and former members of Parents for Dr. D, a committee formed to support DeVincentis in public battles with the School Board in 2002. The e-mails, harshly critical of former Superintendent Cyndy Simms, were sent in 2004 and 2005 when DeVincentis was principal of Strawberry Park Elementary.
DeVincentis has apologized for the e-mails but indicated he will not resign. He did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.
Jim Swiggart, who once chaired the Parents for Dr. D, said the public deserves to know where the School Board stands on DeVincentis. Swiggart said he and others are prepared to initiate a recall effort if DeVincentis does not step down. He said the board should take the lead in seeking his resignation.
"I'm of the opinion we need to see whether the School Board decides to continue to support Dr. D, or if it will ask for his resignation or accept his apology and believe that's sufficient for him to stay on the board," Swiggart said. "The board needs to show leadership by taking a position and letting the community respond to that. It's their responsibility to do that."
Swiggart is not likely to get an answer at today's meeting, said School Board President Denise Connelly. She does not expect any discussion by the board about what action, if any, the board should take in response to the DeVincentis e-mails.
Connelly is expected to direct the board to begin an investigation into how the Steamboat Pilot & Today received copies of the e-mails. The investigation will focus on whether any district policies were violated when someone delivered printed copies of the e-mails to the newspaper.
The board likely will hire an "impartial, unbiased, out-of-town" attorney to investigate where the e-mails came from, and the board will "head up" the investigation, Connelly said.
The School Board also will take public comment during the 2 p.m. meeting in the BOCES board room at the George P. Sauer Human Services Complex on Seventh Street.
As far as Gleason's resignation, the board has 60 days to replace him with another interested community member from Gleason's district, which extends up Elk River Road and into parts of Old Town Steamboat Springs.
Connelly said residents interested in filling the vacancy need to send a letter of interest. The board will prepare information about the new member's responsibilities soon. Several people have stopped by the district's offices to see whether they live in Gleason's district, Connelly said.
"I think there is some interest out there," she said. "I'm confident we'll fill the position."
Connelly said the workshop with Wiegel has been scheduled for months.
The goal of the workshop is to discuss the district's use of policy governance, a policy put in place nine years ago. The policy was designed to help the district run smoothly, but current board members have questions and concerns about how the policy works and if it's right for the district.
"This whole policy governance issue has been very, very controversial," Connelly said. "We cannot continue running the way we are right now. We either need to adapt to the changes the district has gone through or else move to a different governance model."
Weigel said the Steamboat Springs School Board is "not struggling any more or any less" than other boards in the state.
"What I see is a lot of passion, interest and dedication on the part of the board and the community in the district that is being expressed inappropriately," he said. "The ultimate objective of the School Board is to govern well for its students, for its staff. And for the community to get a good district for the taxes it pays. We need to determine what good governance means."
The workshop will continue Friday.