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Farmington school board meeting format will change

A little more than a year after they adjusted their meeting schedule to include a monthly work session, Farmington School Board members are making another change.

Last week board members agreed to adjust their schedule to include two business meetings each month, with a discussion-focused work session to follow one of those meetings.

When the board added the work sessions last January the idea was to create an opportunity for more in-depth discussion about issues on the board's plate. Board members would gather information at their first meeting each month and take action at the second.

Things haven't always worked out that way, though. Agendas for work sessions have frequently included action items, and some board members have worried that means residents do not have a chance to comment before the board takes action.

That discussion came to a head last month as the board prepared to vote on a move to the South Suburban Conference. The vote was originally scheduled during a work session, but board member Julie Singewald objected. She had specifically told some parents that the vote would take place at the monthly business meeting -- the way the system was intended to work -- and worried residents with concerns about the move would not have a chance to voice them.

Board member Brian Treakle said Monday the conference-change vote made him realize a change was needed.

"It doesn't seem like we've had one meeting yet where we haven't had at least one action item ... to vote on," he said. "I just think we need to have that ability to have public comment."

At last week's work session the board approved bids for $6 million worth of projects at district schools.

Singewald said the work sessions have become very much like regular business meetings rather than the long, detail-filled discussions she expected last January.

Adding an official business meeting at the start of each month's work session will allow the district to take public comment on items that need action.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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