Public property

January 10, 2007 11:00 pm

What's the difference between a 1989 Chevrolet Corsica with 134,000 miles and the Central Building, which serves as one-half of the Baker Middle School?

Here are a couple hints: they're both property of the Baker School District, and they're both advertised for sale.

Answer? The school board voted in public to sell the Corsica.

No so with the Central Building.

"It was an informal discussion by the board to see what kind of interest is out there," Superintendent Don Ulrey said of the decision to . He doesn't think it was an action item on the school board's agenda (unlike the 1989 Corsica, which the board voted to offer for sale).

John Boyer, who as chair of the school board should be in control of the agenda, can't recall when that "informal discussion" about the Central Building took place or whether it was on an agenda, either.

You'd think that with a critical vote for a school bond levy in the offing, if the school board wanted to sell the Central Building, they would put the item on the agenda for one of their meetings, discuss it, take any comments from the public, and then vote, with all of the above proceedings recorded in the meeting minutes.

That's what they did with the 1989 Chevy Corsica, which is hardly a mission-critical piece of public property.

We think that improving communication and trust with voters starts with the school board doing the public's business in public, not in informal discussions after meetings or at times outside of meetings or wherever these "informal discussions" are taking place.