TRANSPARENCY OF BOARD MEETINGS AND PROCESSES
Mark has promoted greater transparency in the Governing Board’s operations.
1) Mark advocated for videostreaming of board meetings for several years, before the board finally agreed in 2011 (a 4-1 vote). Videostreaming started in early 2012, and those recordings are archived on the Governing Board’s website.
2) For years the Board was often more than a year behind in posting the minutes of its meetings, though the law requires rapid posting. The board repeatedly refused to fix the problem, for example by a 3-2 vote in 2014. After Mark finally wrote to the state Attorney General’s office, the minutes for 33 board meetings suddenly appeared on the board’s agenda for approval.
3) Mark long advocated for an alternative board meeting space, that could accommodate large crowds when the board was due to consider controversial issues. The board and staff were unwilling to create such a space, until the Office of Civil Rights insisted on it. This led to the creation of an entirely new board room at the new Duffy school, which solved the problem (though at excessive cost). Mark has long advocated for holding Board meetings in a larger space, when a large crowd is expected.
4) TUSD has long had the strange practice of not announcing who is getting a procurement award until after the board votes. Mark has expressed concern about this since joining the board and the district recently relented and agreed to reveal the staff’s recommendation before the board votes on it.
5) Mark has pressed for more and better-publicized public hearings and a more open budget process. This had some success historically but unfortunately budget development now occurs almost entirely out of public view.
To increase public confidence in TUSD, it is important to improve the transparency of the budget, including the desegregation budget. TUSD should do nothing with money that cannot be comfortably exposed to public inspection, and the entire budget should be online in a way that ordinary people can understand it.
Unfortunately, last year, the budget book became less rather than more transparent, compared to the year before. Budget presentations to the board are much less informative than they were a few years ago.