The Carroll ISD board of trustees approved a new board meeting schedule for 2021-22 along with policies to promote better transparency and streamline discussions.
In a 6-1 vote, the board approved a policy amendment that will change the two regular meetings a month to one regular meeting on the third Monday of each month and a workshop on the first Monday of each month. The change also allows for new policies to be adopted in one reading rather than the previous two-reading requirement.
Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter said this system still allows for board members and the public to meet twice a month to discuss various issues, but the workshop gives members and staff the opportunity to work in a more informal setting.
“By no means is it an attempt to just have one meeting with one time for public comment,” he said, responding to several public comments expressing concern about the limited time for constituents to address the board.
Both meetings will allow for public comments, he said.
Ledbetter told trustees that neighboring districts such as Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Keller ISD already have a similar setup.
“It's obviously not an attempt to get away from being transparent," Ledbetter said. "It's just an attempt, really, to have an opportunity with the board once a month to really dig deeper into topics that are of interest to the board.”
The new format will be effective starting July 12.
Trustee Eric Lannen said this new format will allow for more time for both trustees and the community to digest information presented at workshops before taking action during their regular meetings two weeks later.
“To me, that would give the community even more time with those two weeks to think about whatever was presented and give input to you or any of us as board members. That's unlike the current situation where ... we've only had a day or two to look at some of the material that was provided on the agenda,” Lannen said.
Replacing one of the regular meetings with a workshop could help with education and transparency of the information, board Vice President Todd Carlton said.
“I'm a firm believer that an educated populace is an excellent populace. And so if we can educate not only the board but also our community on these topics, that warrants a three-hour deep dive,” he said.
A policy was also amended 5-2 to move the regular meeting time from 5:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Board members in favor of the amendment said they have already been doing the earlier start time due to COVID-19. Trustees Danny Gilpin and Lannen voted against the amendment, citing concerns about parents having enough time after work to get to the meeting. Workshop meetings can be held at any scheduled time.