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Your Opinion: School board transparency needed

by Bobbi Birdsong, Jefferson City | April 3, 2016 at 4:31 p.m. | Updated January 1, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.

Dear Editor:

The March 28 News Tribune included a guest editorial from the St. Joseph News-Press that again addressed the topic of the value of transparency and open records for our democracy.

The paper had a great Letter to the Editor supporting streaming local school board meetings as another means of having an informed citizenry. Both covered the value of transparency, a subject our school board refuses to embrace (with the exception of votes for transparency from two members - Murray, Couty.

It leaves taxpayers wondering just what and how much the other members feel they need to hide. This shroud of secrecy also inspires absolutely no confidence with taxpayers in supporting future bond issues no matter how necessary they might be. Nothing short of an audit could inspire confidence.

When a school system is in crisis of barely meeting basic accreditation standards, it might be appropriate to question the actions of our elected leaders who have no interest in transparency. It is also a concern that both school board members running unopposed in April stated that they rated JCPS an accumulative "B" even though solid documented facts refute that rating. I am hopeful they will make a commitment to building trust both with the community and with our dedicated educators. With lawsuits looming against the district, the information and honesty bubble may soon be ready to burst.

On a positive note, I have found what I think is refreshing transparency by one of our local school board members, Pam Murray at www.pammurray.org. If you have not read her web page, I suggest you do, as she has a section giving weekly updates and another titled "hot topics" that I have found most informative and at times thought provoking. I thank Murray for her commitment to keep us informed and suggest our other elected officials take note of her efforts.

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