A joint meeting between the city’s school board and city council that was to be held in the council chamber with live feed broadcasting through the city’s public access television channel has been derailed by Christopher Irving, the school board’s president, according to multiple sources.
“We reached out to the board president. He said that it had to happen at the board of education central location, or he and some of his board members wouldn’t attend,” said Andre Sayegh, the council president, who on Tuesday had said the meeting would happen at the council chamber; and it would be broadcast live to the entire city. “I can’t force him to come to city hall.”
During Tuesday’s meeting Jonathan Hodges, a longtime school board member, urged the council members to make time for the joint meeting, and make it happen in the council chamber, so that the entire community can be informed of the board’s decision to change the April election to November.
When Sayegh said the meeting would be held in 90 Delaware Avenue due to a lack of quorum at the council, Hodges, who was sitting in the audience uttered: “There’s no point in having it then.” Sayegh then asked Anthony Davis, the 1st Ward councilman, whether he will be able to attend the joint meeting, Davis responded he could. Sayegh said he had quorum and the meeting can take place at the city hall.
However, all that changed when Irving was called to schedule the meeting; it appears, he is unwilling to attend a meeting that’s to be held at the council chamber. This reporter attempted to reach Irving, left two messages, and has yet to receive a response.
Despite the venue change Sayegh said he requested the meeting be recorded and put on the city’s public access channel, but that broadcast would not be live, rather it would be recorded and broadcasted at a later date. “There’s been a request made to actually tape it,” said Sayegh.
It was during a hush-hush special meeting in September the board changed the city’s school board election date to November with little input from the community, and despite opposition it has remained adamant about the change.
Hodges, who has been working to return the school elections back to April, said he wanted the meeting televised live for an inclusive public discussion on the election change. “This was a momentous decision made without any significant discussion in the community,” said Hodges. “They all said they wanted a public discussion initially.”
The changed election is one of the items on the Wednesday, January 15th, 2014; the other two items are renovation of Hinchliffe Stadium and Recreational Spaces in the City, allowing schools to remain open for community children to make use of. Hodges said he was a little taken aback with the meeting change from the council chamber where at least a small number of residents attend to a place where almost no one attends.
“I’m distressed the entire community is being shut out of a discussion they rightfully deserve to have,” said Hodges