The Cobb County School Board met yesterday morning to determine the 2023 meeting schedule. Superintendent Chris Ragsdale recommended approving the existing program into the new year. Republican board members rejected the motion to update the current monthly meeting calendar which would allow for more community involvement.
Becky Sayler, a newly appointed democratic board member, motioned for the calendar to have extended time between the work session and the final voting session to allow for community member involvement. She said community members had expressed frustration when policies get approved swiftly.
“There’s a perception that they haven’t had a chance to be involved,” she said.
Before 2018, the board would hold two separate meetings a month, six months out of the year, to allow for community engagement, according to Sayler. She wanted to amend the calendar to revert to that pre-existing schedule.
Democratic board member Leroy Tre’ Hutchins seconded Sayler’s motion, saying the board meetings are often scheduled during school hours, making it difficult for teachers to participate in the process.
“All of the decisions that we make affect children and our staff,” he said. “Oftentimes, they’re hearing about things from parents,”
Republican board member Brad Wheeler disagreed with Sayler and Hutchins, saying he had previously worked with both systems and favored the current one.
“I know it saves the district staff an awful lot of time,” he said. “I think it works better as is.”
Newly appointed democrat board member Nichelle Davis agreed with Sayler and Hutchins. Davis was formerly a school teacher and understood their concerns.
“Knowing the strain it puts to have the work session and the public meeting on the same day and not being able to attend both was a consideration that I want to bring forth,” she said. “For community engagement purposes, on behalf of the teachers, and hearing this from former colleagues as well, I am in support,”
The motion was rejected in favor of the existing meeting schedule, four republican votes to three democrat votes.
Click here for information on the Cobb County Board of Education Meeting schedule and calendar.