It's that time of year again; time for the Warren County School Board to meet behind closed doors to hear a "State of the District" presentation from its superintendent, brainstorm some goals for the district and then prioritize them.
It's also that time for the Times Observer to complain that those sound like things the public and the taxpayers who pay the freight for education in the district should be able to hear.
Nothing has changed from our stance on this issue in previous years.
The school board labels the meeting a "conference" and thus exempt from the state's Sunshine Act. We contend the label is misleading and perhaps disingenuous.
What the school board will be doing behind closed doors is nothing less than setting a course for education in this county over the next year. That course will be the roadmap for virtually every aspect of district operations, from curriculum planning to transportation, from the distribution of personnel to the philosophy of dual enrollment.
The public may be treated to the sterilized outcome of the discussions through pronouncements by the board's leadership or even the superintendent, but we've never considered that action an adequate involvement of the public in the business of public education.
The board is saying, in essence, we won't be voting, but rather finding consensus without the cumbersome specter of questions or suggestions from the gallery.
So, what is consensus if not a casual vote, a statement on what most members of the board agree on?
There you have it: Our annual rant about a weakness in the state's Sunshine Act that allows important government decisions and policies to be hammered out in secret.