Trustees flirt with field trip meetings

Intrigued by the idea of getting off the dais and into the schools, the Chico Unified School District Board of Trustees is considering holding some of its meetings at various campuses around town.

The board discussed the idea, raised by new Trustee Steve O’Bryan, at its March 7 meeting. O’Bryan said meeting at school sites would both make board members more familiar with them and educate people about what the board does. Parents and others might be more likely to attend a meeting at their neighborhood school, he reasoned, than come downtown to the big council chambers and its “intimidating” podium.

“I think we’d get a lot more input from the citizens,” he said.

The board usually meets in the Chico City Council chambers, from where the meeting is televised live. Sometimes, special meetings are held at the district office and are not on TV, but a meeting coincidentally set for March 22 at Emma Wilson Elementary School would be the first time in a while trustees had gathered at a school.

Trustee Ann Sisco liked the idea of meeting at schools—at least a couple of times a year—but said, “That would be a problem—that we’re not on TV.”

Trustee Rick Anderson said the board should discuss philosophically “what’s our purpose? How do we serve the greater community as a whole best?” He’d agree with meeting at sites quarterly but keeping “the primary business of the school district” conducted at the council chambers.

The trustees agreed that they really should be visiting the schools more.

“Probably, individually as board members we ought to be going more often to school sites and seeing what’s going on,” Trustee Donna Aro said. But, she added, “I cannot believe the [number of] people who watch our board meetings on TV.”

The board informally decided to try to schedule a few special meetings at school sites.