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'The Vitale Stall' keeps the public waiting nearly two hours before 'public participation' can finally begin... Board of Education meeting of June 2012 reveals raft of lies and hypocrisies

Chicago Board of Education members Andrea Zopp (right) and Roderigo Sierra (left) flank Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard (center) as they begin the June 27, 2012, meeting of the Board, the first anniversary of the Board's appointment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the opening attacks by the Board on the Chicago Teachers Union and democracy in Chicago. Substance photo by David Vance.The Chicago Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on June 27, 2012, continued to stall the public participation for as long as possible, than proceeded to pander to those who praised their corporate agenda while being rude — or worse — to anyone bringing in facts or questioning the agenda of the Board appointed one year ago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Marchers in blue t-shirts chanted "Don't fight!" as they marched around the block from the 125 S. Clark Street entrance of the Chicago Board of Education. Meanwhile, inside the building, the regular monthly meeting took place on Wednesday, July 27, 2012, in Board chambers on the fifth floor. The overflow room on the 15th floor was filled with people, some of whom arrived as early as dawn to sign up to speak, while the Board members stalled the beginning of the meeting until after noon, on a day when the meeting was supposed to begin at 10:30 a.m.

All Board members, except Henry Bienen, plus Board President David Vitale, were present for the meeting scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m.

The public Board agenda for July 27, 2012, listed several names of those who were retiring from administrative and principal positions. The administators were: Rachel Garza Resnick, Chief Labor Relations Officer; Dr. Richard G. Smith, Chief Officer, Special Education and Supports; Dr. Isabel Mesa-Collins, Chief of Schools, O'Hare Elementary Network; Daryl J. Okrzesik, Controller; Patrick J. Rocks, General Counsel to the Board of Education of the City of Chicago; and Jessenia Martinez, Honorary Student Board Member, Chicago Board of Education October 26, 2011 to June 27, 2012. The principals were almost too numerous to list.

The Board extended condolences to the widow of Cal Everidge, who recently passed away. He had worked with the Community Action Councils (CACs) as part of the Board's office of Family and Community Engagement. Prior to that, he had worked with principals on safety and security, according to David Vitale, and was an expert on gang awareness training. Board President David Vitale gave thanks for the recognition of Cal's work and added, "My sister is a principal in our system."

Prior to the meeting, Board members were hugging one another and selected members of the administration. Above, Board member Roderigo Sierra (facing camera) hugs Board member Mahalia Hines, who is holding a ten dollar bill without explanation. Since the Emanuel Board took power a year ago, close observers have noted that Board members have designated roles during the meetings and public participation. Mahaiia Hines, a retired principal and entrepreneur, always reminds the world that she would love to lower class size and pay teachers more, but that the Board's budget simply doesn't allow it. Then, after most of the public has departed, she votes with the other Board members to rubber stamp an unprecedented number of special expenses, ranging from more than a million dollars each to two outside law firms (Franczek Radelet, and Neal Leroy) to tens of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to favored vendors. Sierra's job is to periodically pontificate about how he pulled himself up by his bootstraps from a humber childhood in Humboldt Park. Substance photo by David Vance. The unusual memorial event caused some to notice the Board's unusual priorities. Although dozens of classroom teachers — and numerous PSRPs and other school workers — die every month, the Board never extends any condolences to those in the teaching force who have recently departed. (For Chicago Teachers Union members, such a moment of silence is done at the beginning of every meeting of the CTU House of Delegates).

What Substance reporter George Schmidt has dubbed the "Vitale Stall" was clearly in place as the Chicago Board of Education appointed in 2011 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel went through its first anniversary meeting on June 27, 2012.

Since the current Board of Education took power in June 2011, they have slowly changed the meeting format to push back public participation as long as possible. Despite periodic appeals that the Board should meet in the communities across Chicago, and at a time that regular people could attend the meetings, the Board has haughtily maintained its expensive Loop meetings during what used to be called "Bankers' Hours."

It was the insults to every parent, student, or citizen who came to participate in the meeting that was most obvious on June 27. The Board's policy today is to force the public as far away and as far down on its agenda as possible. Prior to the Emanuel Board, the Board would do a brief "good news" portion of the meeting, then do public participation, then hear executive reports. For the past several months, Vitale and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard have moved the executive reports in front of public participation. As a result, parents and others who wish to present their concerns to the Board now have to wait until noon or later for public participation to begin. Under all previous Board presidents prior to Vitale, the public participation never began later than 11:15. and was usually well into its list of speakers by 11:00 a.m.

The business portion of the meeting began with a Power Point presentation called "Improving Climates for Learning — Holistic Safety Approach and Positive Behavior Supports." The Power Point presented by Jadine Chou and Jennifer Loudon. Chou is the recently appointed chief officer for safety and security at CPS. She came to CPS from the Chicago Housing Authority and apparently was deemed qualified to head CPS security because she has an MBA from the University of Chicago. No veteran security staff person from CPS was involved in the Power Point, which went on for more than half an hour, with questions from several Board members.

The Power Point contained a videos. The first was "You Can't Mix Heat With Heat" in which students spoke of the benefits of the smiling security guard intervening to defuse a situation and calm students before they got to the principal's office.

Another video within the Power Point followed. In that one, Elizabeth Kirby, Principal of Harper High School, told of what was being done at Harper to make things safer and more secure at that high school, which has been under CPS "turnaround" for four years.

As it became more and more clear the to majority of people in the chambers that the Power Point would go on as long as possible as part of the "Vitale Stall," things heated up at the Board meeting itself. And calm was not on David Vitale's agenda. During the presentation, noisy conversation from the back of the chambers was followed by a parent saying loudly, "We brought our children because they are part of public participation." One parent, Laura Paris of the 19th Ward group "6.5 to Thrive," was escorted out by Security and kept under guard in the lobby behind the Board meeting while the Power Point continued and continued.

Following the videos, Ms. Chou and Ms. Loudon then spoke of how the reorganization of the Department of Security and Safety was aimed at providing a safe environment to reduce student deaths and injuries. The result of the reorganization, they claimed, was a decrease in infractions and an increase in attendance, especially in what they called "focus schools." (All of the Power Point evidence consisted of small anecdotes, with no data or research beyond them). A number of new initiatives were planned, Loudon and Chou said, including more and better training for security staff, more camera installations, and better partnerships with students, parents, and the community. Chou, whose work at the CHA included a massive infusion of expensive security cameras (at great cost) was not asked how the cameras decreased crime or made the schools and those in them safer.

Culture of Calm had disappeared from history. Neither Chou nor Loudon (nor any of the Board members) asked about what happened under the last Board security and safety initiative, the so-called "Culture of Calm" program. That program began under former CEO Ron Huberman and former Board President Michael Scott (whose death is officially the same cause as others).

Culture of Calm over two years used up $65 million in federal funds granted to CPS following the internationally scandalous murder of Fenger High School student Derrion Albert three years ago. The Derrion Albert murder, which took place a mile from Fenger after school, was videoed by a bystander, and the video became an international symbol of Chicago's culture of violence. The Obama administration sent the Attorney General with the answer. "Culture of Calm" came to Chicago when President Barack Obama sent Attorney General Eric Holder to City Hall to announce that the federal government was giving Chicago an extra $65 million in federal funds to reduce school violence (creating a "culture of calm", the predecessor to the current "creating a safe environment.")

Along with several Power Point presentations between 2009 and 2011, Culture of Calm was administered by CEO Ron Huberman and former Security and Safety Director Michael Shields. When the Rahm Emanuel Board of Education took power, Huberman was already gone (he had resigned as soon as Mayor Richard M. Daley announced in October 2010 that he was not going to run for re-election) and Shields was quickly forced out by the Emanuel Board. (Shields is currently back at the Chicago Police Department, where he was observed by a Substance reporter in December during a Rahm Emanuel publicity stunt announcing a thing called "COMPSTAT CPS, which was supposed to bring school violence under control two months before Chicago's street gang violence spun out of control).

But on June 27, 2012, history was off the agenda, and previous policies were not mentioned. Chou and Loudon continued their Power Point, finally discussing what they said was an Improved "Student Code of Conduct" (SCC). According to the Power Point presentation and the answers provided to Board members, the new Code of Conduct will reduce what some have charged is a student suspension rate that it "too high." That reduction will be done by eliminating automatic 10-day suspensions for the most serious offenses and requiring a 5-day suspension for these offenses instead. They noted that the new Code of Conduct will allow a 10-day suspension "with justification." Other changes to the Code were also mentioned.

Clearly unfamiliar with the history of the Chicago Code of Conduct (which was a pioneering effort when it was initiated in 1989 during the early years of LSC-based school reform), Board members asked a number of questions and made a number of comments:

-- What's the point of REQUIRING suspension? (The reply was: The Illinois School Code requires it.)

-- We need to know the number of infractions in order to know how relevant the percentages of the decrease in infractions and increase in attendance were. As usual, CPS officials in their Power Points utilize percentages, but rarely provide base line numbers.

-- What's happening with out-of-school time for suspension and in-school for that matter? (We are looking into multi-school partnerships.)

Substance reporter George N. Schmidt, was fuming. Schmidt had served as security coordinator while teaching English at Bowen High School during the late 1990s and then became Director of Security and Safety for the Chicago Teachers Union from 2002 through 2004. He stated on the side during the discussion that the approach to the problems would be a "disaster."

"The problems have never been the number of suspensions," Schmidt said later, "but crime in the schools. You can reduce the number of suspensions simply by forcing principals to force teachers to ignore crime, but crime won't go down," Schmidt said later. "This has been the trick in every city — most recently exposed in New York City — when the focus is on 'data' rather than on reality. Killing crime is a headline we'll be back to..."

Noting that the Code of Conduct has the highest levels of misbehavior (Levels Five and Six) because such things actually happen in the schools, Schmidt continued. "Anyone can reduce suspensions by simply ordering principals to stop suspending people, even for the more serious crimes," Schmidt said. "I wrote suspensions for murder, agg battery, and mayhem during my time at Bowen, and it sounds like today a security coordinator might even be prohibited from suspending a kid who shot another kid through the head on school grounds, as I witnessed, in December 1997 at Bowen. Under this new plan, CPS would be more concerned about traumatizing the shooter than justice."

CPS security personnel, who asked not to be identified for fear of being fired by Chou and the Emanuel Board, said that in the worst schools facing the most serious gang problems the word was already out among the gang members that the Code of Conduct could be gamed. "Someone should watch 'The Wire' again to get a handle on how Chicago is operating under Rahm Emanuel," Schmidt added.

After the lengthy presentation by Chou and Loudon —and the almost equally lengthy questions by Board members — the latest iteration of school safety plans was finally over. It was noon.

Chief Counsel Patrick Rocks said there would be a minor policy change today urging adoption of an Internet Safety Policy. Rocks noted that Internet safety was evolving in all school districts as Internet access became more and more widespread and necessary.

Shortly after noon, public participation finally began.

The first speaker was Felipa Mena, a parent of a student at Lake View High School and a Local School Council (LSC) member at Wells High School, who spoke in Spanish. Around her stood others in orange t-shirts which said "Power PAC" and "Faith in Education." She is in favor of the School Code of Conduct. She said that this year we see some positive changes, the automatic 10-day suspension is reduced. Restorative Justice, which appeared to not be addressed in the SCC, had been addressed.

Efrain Montalvo, of the Community Renewal Society, who is pushing for Restorative Justice, was suspended for 35 days and then expelled and said life is difficult since.

The group then handed out red roses representing students who had been shot.

Kevin Hough, formerly of Lincoln Park High School and now of Roberto Clemente Community Academy, spoke of layoffs. He said when Austin High School was closed and students were sent to Clemente, gang problems resulted. He mentioned that there have been seven principals at Clemente in the last year. An improvement in test scores and attendance have led to a decrease in violence. He added that 22 teachers have been affected by your policies.

Viviana Hernandez, a graduate of Clemente, said that when she was a student she had some great teachers. She mentioned the names of some: Block, who worked with students on Saturday, Hough, Hamilton, and one who stayed until 10 p.m.

Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines wanted to know, why are 22 teachers being displaced? Board President David Vitale replied that we will get to that. Board Member Jesse Ruiz added that Clemente was becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) school.

Larry Ligas, of Skinner Elementary School, supports the SCC. He said his son's civil rights were violated and the new bullying law is not enough. He said that when his son was in second grade, Restorative Justice was used with bullies which allowed them to continue. He added that I'm willing to help my son get the justice he deserves.

Ron Hamilton, of Clemente High School, spoke of unconscionable human rights violations at Clemente. He agrees with Larry Ligas, that the environment is toxic. He queried, what about the kids? He remarked that it's a smoke screen to deprive students of legal rights, and reminded the Board to do what is right, not just what is politically expedient.

Michael Butz of Stand for Children who has a third-grader in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), presented the Board with 3000 petitions signed by parents, teachers, and community members. He added that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and CPS need to stay at the table. He mentioned that Stand for Children had placed a full-page ad in yesterday's (July 26, 2012) Tribune. He said that there is a middle ground and urged the Board and CTU leadership to do what's right, to avoid a strike.

Board President David Vitale said he really couldn't speak for the CTU, but he believes it's the objective of the CTU as well as the CPS to avoid a strike.

Tiffany Bluntson attended a ten-week course with Stand For Children. She said that parents are the first teachers of their children and we need to get involved. She asked parents to Show Up, Stand Up, and Speak Up. She added that her daughter completed fifth grade with perfect attendance.

Next to speak was Jesse Sharkey, CTU Vice-President, who said, "From your mouth to God's ear" in response to Board President David Vitale's remark that he believes both the CTU and CPS wish to avoid a strike.

Jesse Sharkey said we don't like out-of-state ads and feel that Stand For Children was misleading. He added that if you have a glass jaw in this business, you should not be in this business. He mentioned that before we talked about merit pay and class size. He added that now that over 800 teachers have been laid off and 1700 teachers have retired, we should have a pool of high-performing teachers to draw from. He spoke of the teachers at Clemente who had prepared for the IB program and were let go.

Board President David Vitale said that Alicia Winkler, Chief Talent Officer, will now talk about teacher fairs for those teachers.

Ms. Winckler said a majority of teachers will end up in the reassignment pool with benefits. She mentioned that a career fair would be held on Thursday, July 28, 2012 and that 300 impacted teachers were registered. She added that the substitute pool was offered to displaced teachers. Board Member Jesse Ruiz asked if dropped teachers would be allowed to apply to the IB program. Ms. Winckler said most lay-offs were for drops in student enrollment.

Laurise Johnson, of the Mikva Challenge, Student Voice and the Mikva Education Council, spoke of student accomplishments last year. She said that 4000, which included students, teachers, and principals, saw an anti-bullying video. She said the Mikva group participated in and offered suggestions for a teacher evaluation system.

Ashine Shakari, of Fuller Elementary, told of tenured teachers leaving before the end of their careers because they were pushed out before they wanted to retire. She mentioned how they got rid of staff by teacher bullying and lowering ratings. She remarked that turnaround schools were used to get rid of qualified teachers who were tenured, without due process. She said many teachers would have continued rather than retire.

Erica Clark is a CPS parent who had joined those on the sidewalk this morning. She spoke in support of contract proposals and said there is not a lot of trust in this Board. She said that we believe that CTU proposals for smaller class size, art, and music, matter to our children. She asked, "Do they matter to the Board?" adding that we don't hear that coming from you; CTU seems to be putting student needs first. She said, "You can't put children first if you put children last."

Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines said, "It saddens me that you think we don't care." She also referred to the small budget of the CPS. She added, "This is a volunteer job. If I didn't care, I wouldn't be here." and "If we had the resources, you would know we care."

Kenneth Taylor, a Perspectives Alumni and now a teacher, thanked CPS for supporting charter schools and school choice programs. Wearing a yellow t-shirt that said "Tiger Pride," he said "Regular schools didn't work for me." He added that he got a scholarship to a prestigious university.

Gabriela Hernandez, of Kelvyn Park High School, spoke of required suspensions, SCC changes, and out-of-school arrests.

Chief Board Officer Jean-Claude Brizard said that he is not a fan of out-of-school suspension at all and is committed to reducing suspensions.

Timothy Anderson, of the Southwest Organization Project, spoke of undocumented students and said he is working with the DREAM act and the Alabama March. He said the DREAM act requires no criminal record or arrests on school property and could prevent students from pursuing their dreams.

Julio Contreras, of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a youth leader, and a Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) member, said he was kicked out of his last meeting for just asking a question. He mentioned that there are 324 suspensions a day and 25 arrests a day in schools, adding "It's time you start doing your job." He said the SCC had improved, but was still not good enough.

Alberto Brito, a junior in high school, said he went through a lot of bullying in fourth grade and did not participate in school activities. He added that in sixth grade, he was punched in the jaw. After a talk with the bullies, the principal, and the victim, the students wrote a letter of apology to the victim. He recommended common sense solutions, adding "There is no time to waste, our future is at stake."

Angelique Wade said she was arrested at the age of 14 and suspended for two weeks. The principal encouraged the victim to file a battery charge and now Angelique Wade has a record.

Claudia Mondragon has two children in McPherson School and is concerned about the longer school day. She said that there are two grades in some classes. She told of a teacher being hired to be a teacher of Spanish when the children already speak Spanish. She mentioned that they are losing five very good teachers and asked the principal not to cut the teachers. She said that no one is listening to the parents, who want small classes and quality education.

Lourdes Pineda spoke in Spanish about her two children at McPherson school. She said she is against the school turning bi-lingual and the teacher layoffs. She doesn't like split classes and said that very good teachers were being laid off. She was told by the principal that the layoffs were a CPS decision.

Board Member Andrea Zopp asked, "What is a split?"

Joy Clendenning, of Hyde Park and Raise Your Hand, spoke of the need for a better culture to strengthen the schools. She said she supports the Community School Model and wants it expanded and asked the Board to lead the way. She is in her eleventh year as a CPS parent and has four children. She spoke of demoralized teachers and expressed thanks to the teachers at Ray School, Whitney Young, and Kenwood. She said she stands with the teachers and said that in regard to the safety policies, the same is needed for the educational policies.

Lissette Moreno-Kuri, of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, told the Board thanks for restoring funding at the community learning centers in Logan Square. She invited the Board to the community learning centers.

Hilda Arias, also of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, also thanked the Board for its support. She said she herself had mentored, tutored, and coached.

Yolanda Crispin, of Monroe School, spoke in Spanish. She said she is a parent mentor and supports the community school initiative in Logan Square.

Catherine Jones, who is on the LSC at Douglass High School, spoke of the LSC election held on April 19. She said she is disputing the evidence of the hearing officer. She said she has been on the LSC since 2003. She added that she needs to talk to someone at CPS today regarding this dispute. She referred to vicious lies.

Board President David Vitale asked her to speak to Michelle Hurley, even though she already had.

Wanda Hopkins, of Parents United for Reform in Education (PURE) and a parent of three adult children and a thirteen-year-old at Andrew Jackson Language Academy, said she was not protesting and she was not confused about the CTU vote. She said that although she still liked Chief Counsel Patrick Rocks, the law department needed to be revamped. She said asking the person who committed a crime, did you do it? is not effective. She spoke of the budget and said that CPS bullies teachers and parents. She told the Board, you don't practice what you preach.

Board President David Vitale responded, "I am a CPS parent, too."

Danielle Pate, of Marconi Academy, a parent, president of the LSC, PTA member, and a parent volunteer, asked the Board to close their eyes and hear what we're saying. She spoke of Christ the King charter school where her child is and invited CPS to Marconi.

Andrew Broy, of Illinois Network of Charter Schools, said that charter schools are in fact public schools. He said that CPS recently renewed 11 - 13 charters with five year terms that are allowed by statute. He mentioned that there are 110 charter schools in Chicago. He added that some charter schools were give only three year renewals, one (Ace Tech) was given a one year renewal, and one (Anoya) was decertified. He said he supports these decisions.

Connie Harris-Jones, a grandmother who has children and grandchildren in CPS, spoke of her frustration with neighborhood schools. She mentioned a rally on the beach and a trip to City Hall with 2500 pledges, adding, "This is only the beginning."

Michael Gardner told the Board that you need positive reinforcement and we are going to support you. He said we want more schools that are performing well. He said he was concerned about what school he was going to send his child to next, adding that he went to Lane Tech. He told Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines and Board President David Vitale that we're here to motivate you to get more high quality schools.

Ronald Jackson, an LSC member, spoke of the Illinois School Code. He asked which teachers were retained at Tilden? He mentioned that the principal said they have to call the Law Department, that they do not have to [tell] the LSC. He added that the LSC election was a joke at Tilden. He said no one's there; you can't have an election when no one's there. He said that many programs had been taken out, computers, etc.; yet, schools up north have them. He concluded, "That's why we are going to get an elected school board and your time will be up."

Alfred Rodgers, of the Gage Park High School LSC, a parent, a grandparent and a great-grandparent, spoke of the eligibility process for principals. He said principals should have lesson plans outlining steps to be taken. He added, let us make the determination, just like the aldermen in our wards. He said a background check should come first.Then he thanked everyone, adding to Chief Counsel Patrick Rocks, "Adios, Amigo." He also asked about the child of Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard.

Erika Garcia, of Stowe School, spoke in Spanish, about the principal of Stowe. She wants help at Stowe regarding the principal. She said the discipline is worse, the resources have been misdirected, the staff has low morale, the students performance has been affected, and politicians and celebrities have been given awards. She added that the principal was aware of the breach of the principal contract, the school cannot get out of probation, and the community deserves a just resolution.

Board Member Jesse Ruiz told her this was being reviewed.

Albert Batch, who is not a parent at Stowe School, said he was speaking in favor of Dr. Kyle. He mentioned that programs Dr. Kyle has implemented in the last year and a half have shown the school has improved, Scantron scores have improved a great deal, and the school has turned around from what it was previously. He asked, "Can it get better? Yes, it can. Things are going to."

Hanifa Goder, of Stowe, tried to cede her time to another, but could not, because the other person had not signed up to speak.

Chris Sang, of the Illinois African-American Coalition for Prevention, spoke of the SCC and the anti-bullying policy. He urged CPS to continue to work with the targets of bullying, the parents, and the students.

Sarah Schiber, of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, a coalition of 80 organizations across the state, said they have worked closely with CPS and the Dignity in Schools National Campaign to prevent school violence. She mentioned that House Bill 5290 (HB 5290) lost by one vote; she said it would have defined restorative measures for the first time.

Tea Sefer, of the Lincoln Park High School Safe Schools Alliance, supports the changes in the SCC. She said she has been with CPS for eleven years and is glad of the changes. She added that we can't keep suspending students; we cannot have a blanket ban on suspensions.

Xian Barrett, of Gage Park High School, Concerned Rank and File Educators (CORE), and a writer on the VIVA project, told the story of the Julian High School class of 2012. He said 600 had started the journey. In 2008-2009, teachers were laid off and there was a shortage of staff. Twenty-nine classes were without teachers at all. There were over 40 students in many classes. There was a very low rate of freshmen on track. There were five principals in three years and the staff held the building together. He said not all who started the journey graduated. He asked that the Board to listen to the voices of the community and the teachers.

Donte Howell, a 2010 graduate of Julian High School after attending summer school, said he still has not received his diploma and was getting the run-around. In regard to the suspension policy, he said students are going to find a way to get around a shorter suspension; a shorter suspension will help students get back in school, but violence .... He added that some teachers don't assign work while students are on suspension.

Valencia Rias-Winstead, of Chicago Education Facilities Task Force, said that all her children graduated from CPS. She said she never had a favorite child, but told CPS, that your favorite is AUSL, Sherman School, and Harvard Schools. She said they were given five more years and an adjustment in cost. She mentioned that turnaround schools do need to be regulated and it is necessary to establish a transparent process for how turnaround schools are selected. She added that no direction is given. She is in favor of an elected school board and applauds the volunteerism of the Board, but she told the Board, "You are not responsible to people; you are responsible to corporations."

The Board then went into closed session.



Comments:

June 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM

By: Jay Rehak

Excellent review of the June BOE proceedings

Kudos to Marybeth Foley for her clear reporting of the June Board of Ed meeting. She provided a great sense of all that occurred. This is the type of reporting that is necessary to understand the complexities of the issues and the concerns of the community. Thanks again, Marybeth, for enduring and reporting on the long BOE June meeting.

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