The Indiana Area school board set up the committee system two years ago. Committee meetings give board members the opportunity to seek input from interested parties and gather more detailed information on the many issues that come before the full board.
The use of committees has improved the transparency of the board’s actions by providing more data on the district website than ever before and allowing the public the opportunity to more closely interact with their elected board. The public is encouraged to attend the committee meetings to be a part of the discussion, not limited to three minutes at the start of a board meeting with no response or interaction.
As chairman of the Academic Committee, I can attest to the success of the committee system. During the board/administration workshop held in September, the board set priorities for the district, charging the administration to work through the Academic Committee to help get our youngest students off to a better start and to restructure our offerings at the senior high.
With this charge the district 1) has implemented changes to the kindergarten transition based on recommended “best practices;” 2) has applied for funding to start a Pre-K Counts program in our elementary schools; and 3) has made multiple changes for the 2013-2014 school year to provide new opportunities for high school students as well as remediation options for students who need extra help.
Although the committee structure means additional meetings, the opportunity for increased interaction with the administration and public has made the additional time commitment well worth it. I am open to suggestions for improving the use of the system — we can always do better — but would strongly oppose elimination of committees entirely. They work!
Because of the successes of the current system, I feel it is important to support candidates willing to commit the time needed to guide the continued educational success of our students. I therefore support candidates Danica Jackson, Eric Palmer and Julia Trimarchi Cuccaro, and current board members Walter Schroth and Rob Werner. Now is not the time to step back to the old way of doing business — it is important to move onward and upward.
Academic Committee chairman,
Indiana Area school board
• EDITOR’S NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, Brian Petersen is the son of editorial page editor Mike Petersen.