Find a back issue

Changing the DISD Board Briefing Time Makes No Sense

Late last night, the DISD Board voted 7-2 to change the time of its monthly “Board Briefing” (where a lot of the good policy work and discussion gets done) from 4 p.m. back to 11:30 a.m. This concern was not new, as Zac noted a few months ago, but still Nancy Bingham’s motion to change it came out of the blue yesterday (and, presumably, only after she knew she had the votes for it to pass).

You may say, why is that a big deal? Until this past year, the briefings were always at 11:30. And the idea that moving them later would cause them to be shorter than the normal seven-plus hours didn’t work that well, as the later time only shaved an hour or so off the average briefing-meeting time.

Yes, the meetings are still too long, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is, as Board prez Eric Cowan noted, that the later meeting times means trustees with real jobs (like he and Dan Micciche, the other no vote, have) can actually serve on the board. Like with the city council, we should be finding more ways for working stiffs to hold important city oversight positions. This doesn’t help. I know that the assortment of yes votes and their mix of unemployed wingbats (pick one) and independently wealthy software nerds (there’s only one) don’t care about that, but most people do.

Perhaps more important, working parents and teachers will have a harder time making the briefings. I don’t have a count on this, but board members I’ve spoken with do believe more teacher concerns have been heard this year because of the later start time. That’s vital input.

I’ll let Stacey Hodge, Dallas Director of Stand For Children, explain why this is bad and what you should do about it.

Having the briefing time at 4 p.m. has allowed teachers to speak directly to trustees and have their perspectives heard. Trustee Bingham said the Board briefings are “a time when trustees dig deep into why we are making the decisions we make, trying to find the reasoning and get data from the staff….we look at the outcomes and in governance we should spend time looking at outcomes to understand what is really going on in the district.”

If the meetings are moved back to 11:30 a.m., this vote cuts out the majority of the district staff who can share the outcomes of the trustees decisions and inform future decisions.

We have just begun to help educators realize their perspectives matter and that they need to speak up so we can make the changes for our kids more efficiently and effectively.

I would urge everyone to email ALL Trustees immediately and urge them to reverse this decision and to listen to the 10,000-plus teachers who know the outcomes of their decisions better than anyone.

I would say email those seven right now, because clearly they have plenty of time to spare in the afternoon. It ain’t like most of them are worried about their day job.