Board members gain more say about agenda

By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ staff writer

With little discussion and a unanimous vote, the Clovis Municipal School Board voted Tuesday night to end a long-standing policy requiring board members to gain the approval of the superintendent before adding items to the agenda.

The new procedure states that “any board member shall have an item of business added to the agenda when requested in writing and the request is made prior to the publication or posting of the agenda.”

Board member Mark Lansford had objected to the board’s procedure at the March 9 meeting when the board was debating a new dress code for staff members. The new procedure includes an amendment proposed by Lansford to allow an individual board member to add items to the agenda even if no other board members endorse them. The initial draft presented to the board Tuesday night would only have required items to be placed on the board agenda if endorsed by two board members.

“The agenda is the board’s agenda, not the president’s agenda or the superintendent’s agenda,” Lansford told the board. “In essence, this would allow any board member to represent their district.”

Board member Terry Martin agreed with Lansford, seconded his amendment and asked how individual citizens could present their views.

“My feeling is we represent our district, we represent the public,” Martin said. “Anyone who has an interest in their child or their community should be allowed to address the board. Is there any mechanism in place to allow that?”

Superintendent Neil Nuttall said some school boards allow a public comment period at the end of the meetings, but current procedure in Clovis only allows members of the public to address items that are already on the board agenda, and requires them to sign a form indicating their intent to address the board. Nuttall agreed to look into procedures used by other school boards and present options at a future board meeting.

In other business, the board interviewed two candidates for a vacancy on the school board created by George Banister’s April 30 resignation. By a 3-1 vote, the board named Lola Bryant, a lifelong Clovis resident and homemaker, to fill the vacancy.

Bryant beat out a second candidate, Richard (“Rube”) Render, who moved to Clovis after retiring two years ago from Lockheed Martin where he was a corporate recruiter.