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July 12, 2013

Greater Clark removes personnel reports from public website until after a vote

JEFFERSONVILLE — Without a vote, details of personnel changes within Greater Clark County Schools are no longer publicly included on the board of trustees’ online agenda website.

Sandra Lewis, general counsel for the district, said with privacy concerns as well as last-minute agenda changes this year, it makes sense to discontinue publishing the hirings, firings and transfers of staff on the Internet prior to school board meetings.

“We’re certainly doing what’s allowed by state law and we think this will improve information we’re trying to get the board in advance of a meeting,” Lewis said in an interview after this week’s meeting. “We’re trying to be a little more compassionate about what’s on our personnel report.”

ISSUES, LAW AND POLICY

In 2010, the district began using of BoardDocs, a website where the agenda and all its supporting documents are publicly viewable the Friday before meetings, which are typically held on Tuesday nights. Personnel reports have always been a part of the supporting agenda documents available for public viewing.

At the beginning of five meetings this year, the board has approved amendments to the personnel agenda to work in new hires, voluntary and involuntary transfers and firings. But while the board has announced an addendum to the personnel report openly, they didn’t disclose who was involved or what position until after the report had been approved by a vote.

Lewis said by state law, the board isn’t required to disclose those kinds of addendums when they’re made and don’t have much they’re required to do other than post an agenda with date, time and place information.

“The school board meets in a public format, but the meetings are not public,” Lewis said at the meeting. “And I know that’s kind of hard to understand, but we do not have to allow public comments on agenda items or other items — but we do that because we want to hear what our employees and constituents and community have to say.”

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