The Palo Alto school board will hold its final regular meeting of the school year on Tuesday without discussing the US Department of Education's finding that PAUSD violated the civil rights of a disabled child, or the five other complaints that have subsequently been filed or come to light. See Web Link. The Board has not discussed the Office for Civil Rights complaints at a regular meeting since February. At that meeting, Superintendent Skelly promised the Board regular updates on the district's compliance process.
At the regular Board meeting on May 7, board president Dana Tom responded to public criticism of lack of transparency on the OCR complaints by promising that he would place the issue on a future Board agenda. Mr. Tom was echoing Dr. Skelly, who made a similar statement at a study session held that morning on a bullying task force.
The Board did hold a closed meeting on May 24 to discuss two cases with a significant risk of litigation, but did not disclose details or identify the complaints being discussed. Mr. Tom claimed that the Board would be discussing matters not known to the potential plaintiffs in those cases and therefore was not required to inform the public of the facts being discussed.
At the February 26 meeting, the last regular session meeting at which the OCR complaints were discussed, the Board heard a presentation from the district's lawyer, Laurie Reynolds. The Weekly later described Reynold's presentation as one that was "incorrect, misled the board and the public and engaged in pure obfuscation." See Web Link. The school board authorized an additional $140,000 in legal fees for Reynolds' firm on May 28.
At Tuesday's meeting the school board will consider proposed "focused goals" for the 2012-13 school year. The goals, proposed by Associated Superintendent Charles Young, include an initiative aimed at "engender[ing] trust with the community through frequent, clear, transparent, and varied communication." The corresponding action item to meet that goal is "[i]mprove PAUSD website." See Web Link.
Dr. Skelly also told the board last week that he would soon share with them some "outstanding educators" joining the district, including the public relations officer the board authorized in March at an annual cost of $150,000.