The board sticks to its decision

At its regular board meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, the Tri-City United School Board approved several organizational items. One of them was naming the district’s official newspaper for 2013, in which they would publish the summarized minutes from their meetings. Following their decision to rotate the district’s three newspapers, the board chose the “Le Center Leader”. After sending each board member and the superintendent an email stating how this was a disservice to Montgomery and Lonsdale (the other two communities in the “Tri” name), and publishing the email in the January 24 Messenger, the board revisited the issue at a workshop on January 28. At this meeting, Superintendent Matt Helgerson spoke again of the important service the legal notices serve, and that he had received questions from a variety of people “stakeholders” he called them, about the choosing of one newspaper. He also said in August, 2011, the combined board agreed to “use” all of the local newspapers as much as possible for articles, but rotate them for the publishgin of legal and official minutes. He then opened the floor for discussion. Boardmember Kevin Huber said there should be equal access for publishing the notices across the board in all communities and their newspapers, adding that he “feels very strongly that all communities need to have the information.” Unfortunately, Huber was the only member to speak in favor of all newspapers receiving the notices. Boardmember Amy Barnett said she had worked for newspapers and appreciates the legal notices and what they bring to the communities, but likes the “taking turn” method because it is the most fair to all the communities. She said she didn’t think it was meant to “keep information from the others from seeing it” and that “newspapers are available in the libraries and on newsstands.” She then added that including all newspapers would, in essence, triple the amount the district spends to publish the notices. Boardmember Kevin Krohn alluded to the low number of people who subscribe to newspapers. Deb Struckman said the rotation was the “right way to go” and hoped that all newspapers do their due diligence and publish information, including stories and articles from administration and about co-curricular activities. I will repeat how I think the district is doing a disservice to all of its taxpayers by choosing just one newspaper, and also how newspapers have always done their job of reporting school news - both good and bad. Often times this makes up a large percent of our news coverage. I know the decision is final, and I don’t agree with it. I also encourage you, the public, to continue to voice your concerns to boardmembers that these notices should be published in all the district’s newspapers. Afterall, our tax dollars support the school. We deserve to know how they spend our money, and published legal notices is one way to do it. If there was one good thing to come out of the meeting, it was pointing out there was no easy way to access board minutes or board members’ email addresses on the TCU website. This has since changed. But if you subscribe to the Messenger and want to read how the district is spending your money, you’ll have to go online, go to the library, or buy another paper at a newsstand.

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