Central School Board Considers Open Public Comment

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By Dave Freneaux

The Central Community School Board is moving toward a period of open public comment at the end of each meeting.  Central's City Council already has this policy in place and the School Board instructed Superintendent Faulk to draft a similar policy for the School System.  Discussion centered around allowing up to ten persons to make comments of up to three minutes each.  Cards would be available at the meeting to sign up to speak, but there would be no official action taken as a result of this public comment.  A policy is expected to be brought a meeting in the near future.
The School Board is also moving forward with revisions to the Drug Testing Policy to include hair sampling.  A committee including student, parent and staff input is being formed to interview and select a drug testing company.  Further revisions to the policy will be made in the next two months.  In the interim, testing via urinalysis will continue.
An agenda item calling for an Independent Investigation of the Legislative Auditor's was removed from the agenda.  The item was on the agenda as a result of Mr. Keith Kepper's request at the last School Board meeting.  Reached for comment, Mr. Kepper stated that he felt that the School Board needed to be given time to handle the issue internally rather than pursuing a potentially expensive outside investigation.

In other business, the Board awarded a contract for a new intercom system at Bellingrath and Tanglewood and approved payment of change orders that were necessary to complete the three-school renovations over the summer.  While the change orders totalled $161,787, the project as a whole is still under budget.  School Board Member Marty Guilbeau questioned the process of approving the changes after the work was already done.  Construction Coordinator Ross Bogan explained that the change orders were agreed to as the need arose in order to allow for the timely completion of the renovations.  Superintendent Faulk then offered that more formal and proactive change order guidelines are being looked at as the School System embarks on the new school construction projects.
The Finance Committee's report is discussed in a separate article in today's paper.  Finally, due to Holiday schedules, the School Board will meet once per month over the next two months, on November 8th and December 6th.

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