Shortly before each school board club meeting, the superintendent publishes a “Brief,” which highlights “… a few items that may be of interest to the general public.”

The brief for tomorrow night’s meeting includes the usual awards and reports, but it does not mention a few key agenda items.

First, there is item 16.a.11: It is recommended that the Board of Education approve the Retainer Agreement and budget allocation for Harbottle Law Group effective July 1, 2017 through June 30,2018 for legal services in the amount not to exceed $425,000.

Then there is item 16.a.7: It is recommended that the Board of Education approve an increase to the June 14, 2016 Board of Education approved budget authorization for the provision of legal services by the law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR), an additional$105,000 bringing the total legal fees authorized for 2016-17 for this firm to $605,000.

A million dollars in legal fees. And that doesn’t include whatever dough they are spending with the law firm of Parker and Covert, which handle a lot of district business.

These two items will be rubber-stamped without any of the school board club members questioning anything. After all, it’s not real money, it’s just your tax dollars.

But wait, there’s more!

Item 16.3, which I will call the “Assault on the First Amendment” item, has several changes in the way meetings will be conducted. If this is approved – and my guess is that it will be approved by a vote of 7-0 – the public will no longer be able to “Cede his/her time to another speaker’ or speak as an aggregate for more than 20 minutes on any one topic, unless the president changes her mind. (Good luck with that.)

Oh, and meetings will no longer run to a maximum of 11 p.m. After tomorrow night, it will be 10:30 p.m. As if it matters. With all the rubber stamping and so little substantive discussion on anything, meetings rarely come even close to 10:30.

Finally, there is item 17.e: Approve Reorder of Board Agenda Sections, which is explained as, “Occasionally the Board will review the section order within their agenda. Keeping in mind the legal requirements, the Board may move item sections within the agenda” and states that the board will “… discuss the options and through consensus decide on changes to the order of the agenda sections.”

Can’t wait to see whether there will be any changes that will affect the public comments section.

Maybe they should hire another law firm to figure it out.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

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