Decatur ISD Trustees discuss remote participation

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, January 19, 2019
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Decatur ISD trustee Matt Joiner Monday questioned school board president Cheri Boyd about the denial of him being allowed to participate in the Nov. 26 meeting remotely.

Joiner requested the discussion be put on the agenda with the district’s Team of Eight board training.

During Monday’s meeting, Joiner said he made the request to participate in the meeting Nov. 26 remotely on Oct. 30. He said the request was approved. He said six hours before the meeting Nov. 26 his request was denied.

“No supporting data or rationale was provided only to say there were concerns on the part of Mrs. Boyd and that an unnamed attorney had been consulted,” Joiner said.

“At best the timing of the denial was poor. At worst, the denial may have been used as means to suppress my input on a critical matter in the life of our district – a Level III grievance brought forth by a central office administrator.”

The grievance raised by Deputy Superintendent Cindy Tatum was dropped before the meeting.

Boyd responded to Joiner, “I’ve spoken to you about this. You’re assuming. I thought we were going to be able to go through with it. By the time I started researching it and the specifications we have to meet, there was concern. I told you that I discussed this with the board’s attorney.

“You’re assuming that I’m trying to keep you from doing something; and I was not trying to keep you from doing something. Going forward I wanted to be sure we were not violating Texas state law.”

Boyd said her concern grew after reading the list of specifications and how the videoconferencing has to be set up.

Joiner said he visited with the district’s technology department and “we have all the technology in place.”

Trustee Jennifer Wren suggested the board consider changing the district policy that allows remote participation to determine when it is allowed and under what circumstances.

“If we want to allow members to do this, it should be a ‘shall’ with a certain amount of notice ahead of time,” Wren said. “Personally, I would have some concerns about allowing it.

“I don’t think Mrs. Boyd did anything wrong because of how our policy reads.”

Trustee Wade Watson, who raised issued with Joiner not being allowed to participate remotely at the Nov. 26 meeting, said the denial influenced the grievance being dropped.

“We never officially heard why the grievance was dropped or what conversations happened prior to that happening,” Watson said. “With the timing of all that is an issue. It was requested 30 days prior and technology was not consulted. Why would you wait 20 days until consulting technology?”

The board took no action after a long discussion on changing the district policy on allowing participation remotely.

Joiner did request for the district’s attorney to email him concerns about the use of remote participation.

In other business, trustees approved the hiring of Angie Eudy as the assistant principal at Decatur Intermediate. Eudy was working at the Region 11 Education Service Center.

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