9 September 2014
DELIVERED VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
Kristi Swett, President
Salt Lake City Board of Education
2256 South King Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84109
Keeping Promises: Next Steps in Lunchroom Fiasco
Dear President Swett,
I am writing this letter to ensure that as a School Board, we follow through with what we established in the public meeting on September 2, 2014. In reviewing my notes, it appears that we agreed to the following:
- At the September 16, 2014 –School Board Meeting: Release the findings of the two external investigative reports to the public.
- At the October 7, 2014 –School Board Meeting: Allow for a discussion to take place with the public, investigators and the board as to the results of the investigations.
Additionally, I believe that the School Board should have the opportunity to publicly vote to accept or reject both reports:
I am requesting that the findings of both external investigative reports
be posted on the Action Item Agenda of the October 7th School Board meeting
By way of review (see attached), on February 17, 2014, in reply to your email to the board, in which you reluctantly agreed to commission an external investigation, I noted the following:
“I also believe that the results of this audit report should be presented to the board at its conclusion and the board should be allowed to vote on accepting the report. The board was not given that opportunity when Kelly Orton presented his initial report to the board on February 4, 2014.”
As you are aware, I did not attend the closed door meeting of September 2, 2014, for reasons already stated (see attached). I therefore have no reference point or context in which to understand the odd behavior exhibited by members of the School Board at the public meeting last week.
Needless to say, I along with others, were a bit surprised at how aimless and disoriented members of the School Board presented themselves when responding to the Uintah parents’ valid questions.
Moreover, after eight long months of waiting, we were disappointed to hear you announce that the findings of the investigators would not be released that evening. This announcement was contrary to what the Board had previously agreed to.
In fact, the August 15, 2014 -School Board Weekly Memorandum (incorrectly dated the 8th) states the following:
- 1. Squire and Ostler Reports on September 2, 2014 – Since we were unable to confirm a special meeting date and time with all board members and closed session participants in August, we have now scheduled both independent/external reports to be received by the board on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Dave Brown (Squire) will deliver his report starting at 4:00 p.m., followed immediately by Blake Ostler’s report (Thompson Ostler & Olsen Law). We anticipate that the closed session will go from 4:00-6:20 p.m., with the board’s business meeting starting at the regular time (6:30 p.m.). It is also anticipated that two public reports will be released at the beginning of the business meeting prior to the Consent Agenda.
I am of the opinion that it is extremely important that the public be given the opportunity to know where each board member stands in relation to the conclusions reached by the investigators.
If the School Board is denied the opportunity to take a formal vote on the external investigations, that we commissioned to be conducted, I fear the findings will indeed be viewed as nothing more than “a piece of paper” as declared by Board Member Doug Nelson at the September 2nd Board meeting.
In conclusion, what I stated in my: A Call for an Independent Investigation letter dated February 14, 2014, bares repeating:
The public is looking to the school board, to fill the gaping void of leadership. I implore you to call for an outside, independent investigation. I am convinced, that accountability on this matter must take place before the lost public trust can be restored. Moreover, the outcome of such an investigation will place us on the path to healing the wounds that a somewhat schizophrenic school bureaucracy has, and continues to inflict on our communities.
J. Michael Clára
Board Member, District 2
P.S. “The agenda provided with the public notice MUST BE REASONABLY SPECIFIC about the topics to be considered during the meeting, and each topic to be considered must be listed under an agenda item on the meeting agenda.
[CONVENING MEETINGS WHICH ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: A HANDBOOK FOR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS –May 2013 Edition]