I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
Here is a question that has perplexed me, angered me, and simply made me question the thought process and wisdom of our School Superintendent and School Board members in regards to the intent NOT to allow Taxpayers to interact with the School Board members in easily used email!
And please, PLEASE don’t give me the excuse that the school board members don’t have a computer or access to one (Grams uses one at work and Stanaszek can go to the Cudahy Library)!!
So, I have asked this question before: Why don’t the Cudahy School Board Members have city/school email addresses that John Q Public can email them?
This is what is stated on the Cudahy School Districts Website:
If you are looking to contact a board member, you can follow the link to locate addresses and phone numbers. As a reminder, if you have a concern about a school issue, contact the building principal first. If you are not satisfied, contact the District Office to speak with a District level administrator. If you are still not satisfied, contact Jim Heiden, Superintendent of Schools at 294-7403 or email@example.com. Many issues can be easily resolved by following the strategy outlined above.
I asked our Cudahy Superintendent Heiden this question:
Can you tell me why the School Board members do NOT have email addresses listed? After all, they are elected officials and should have government email addresses.
My apologies for not getting back to you last week. Soon after the District began using email in the early 1990's, a decision was made not to assign School Board members a District email address. Members of the School Board are in regular communication with members of the community through scheduled Board meetings, District events, and informal daily communications while they are out and about in the community. Further, it is believed that most of the email communications that might be sent to Board members will likely be administrative in nature and should instead be directed to myself or other members of the District's Administrative Team. Matters that come to the Administration's attention that require Board input and/or action, are placed on the agendas for Board meetings. Those agendas are publicly posted and include time for public comment directly to all members of the Board. Though they may have personal/family email addresses, members of the School Board have chosen not to publish those. To my knowledge, there is no requirement for Board members to have a District email address. That being said, community residents regularly have been able to contact individual Board members by phone, since those listings are published on the District web site. This approach adopted by the Board has been supported by District legal counsel over the years, since community residents have, and will continue to have, a wide variety of means to communicate with any and all members of the School Board. The School Board, in consultation with District Administration, must identify the practices that will not only permit them to communicate with District residents, but also to complete their duties as public officials in compliance with State law and governance best practices. If you are unable to reach a particular Board member by phone, please let me know by contacting me at 414-294-7401 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have regular contact with all Board members and would be happy to convey a message to them.
I appreciate you getting back to me. While I must say I strongly disagree with you on the email issue.
It might have been the decision in the 1990’s we are now in 2012. At most that is 22 years ago at least it is 13 years ago, more than one complete student cycle. Email reaches a medium that phone calls cannot or not easily obtain.
Do you or the district members have something to fear by the emails? I would say NO!
There is no harm in having it and even if there was misdirected email, the person has the option of forwarding it to the correct person. How would they do that with a phone call?
I see most districts in Milwaukee County do have the email addresses setup for them and I would guess they are heavily used and correctly. I am sure I could do an open records request in another city and let you look at them. We without them are behind the times and come off looking like we are hiding things or don’t want people to communicate in this form. I feel you fall prey to the same thing that Mayor Day does that a phone call is better and it is not. I have no doubt you would get involved if there was a lack of phone response.
We want MORE people engaged in the process and you by proxy are limiting it. This district policy is limiting easy access when it doesn’t have to. There is NO real reason not to move into 2012, it is not as if I am saying the district needs to tweet, this is email which is the stable of businesses.
Yes the Alderman have email and YES people could just go to meetings or call them, yet people email them.
Why do we have email for teachers, do they not have phones? Even the “Custodian” at the schools has email that anyone has access for! How often does someone email the “Custodian” of a school? What would be a reason?
I think the correct statement is, it is lame that the school district members don’t have email. I would guess many people would email them. Even if it is one person that is one more person is involved with the process. Do you not want more people involved and engaged in the process?
We need email for the district members and moving forward and moving beyond smoke signals and smoke screens and the cost is just about zero and the payoff can be big or even small, but there is a payoff for it.
I am sorry to come across as harsh, but I just don’t get the resistance to this.
I think this is vital and given our current condition in public perception and ranking in the magazine, we need a lot of ideas, options, opinions, voices, and involvement in each link of the process. Email will bring the school district members closer to the norm and closer to today and give taxpayers, parents and anyone quick easy access to them at any time of the day or night.