Metro Talk, one of myriad e-mail newsletters published by Orange Net News, arrived in my in-box today with a revealing news item about the Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees (emphases in the original):
Metro Talk Commentary: $8000 Too Much for Democracy?
At the February 24th OUSD Board meeting the Trustees voted to stop taping their Board meetings next year as a budget cut. The tapings have been rebroadcast over OUSD Cable Channel 95. Perhaps critical gadflies, a new Trustee in dark glasses, overflowing Board meetings full of angry citizens, and citizen criticisms broadcast over local cable have been too much democracy for the Citizen’s Board. While the Board voted this month to spend $7,500 to send five administrative staff members to a convention in Las Vegas for a weekend, and paid $4000.00 to a consultant for six hours of work, $8,000 for a year to educate the community on school board happenings, a reform this Board majority originally instituted, now seem too high a price to pay for a Board that claims educational priorities.
That pretty much says it all. The union-dominated OUSD Board would rather spend $7,500 for a weekend in Vegas for five employees, than fund a service that allows voters to watch the Board of Trustees in action.
Or perhaps that is precisely the point. My cynical belief is the OUSD Board -- which has already displayed (and been judicially punished for) a penchant for secrec is cynically employing the thin veil of "budgetary necessity" to scrap televised coverage of their meetings. Who do they think they are kidding?
If anyone wants to drop the OUSD Board of Trustees a line about this action, I'll make it easy: