|Every year about this time, seems the topic of a school board
retreat bubbles to the surface. Historically, school board retreats have
been board members and spouses, school administrators and even
principals, heading off to an out of county location for two or three
days to "discuss"
important issues facing the school system. The cost of past retreats
have ranged from $6,000 to nearly $10,000.
Some board members suggested that "getting out of town" allowed board members to discuss issues more openly out of the spotlight of the media and public. Board member, Bill Marcus stated that the retreats allowed board members to "mingle" with each other.
I for one can't see any reason board members need to travel out of Loudon County to discuss issues pertaining to Loudon County. I can't imagine any topic that the board couldn't discuss right here in any of our local meeting locations. After all, a number of board members just attended a big weekend junket in Nashville back in November at tax payer's expense.
I certainly can't speak for other board members but I didn't run for a seat on the school board for free travel or so I could mingle with other school board members at tax payer's expenses. Fortunately, board chairman Scott Newman may have put the matter to rest at the last meeting. When the topic was raised by board member Gary Ubben, Newman suggested that the matter be delayed while the search for the new director was preceding.
The whole intent of the open meetings law was to be sure that the business of the people is done in the open before the people and that's how it should be.