When Forrest Buell decided to run for Clay Community School Board member-at-large, he made a promise to his voters that if he were elected, he would try to bridge the gap between the board and members of the public.
At the Sept. 11 board meeting, Buell asked for public input to be placed on the agenda. The discussion was centered on the best manner possible to invite the public, school board members, teachers, and students input at school board meetings and in general.
"It is frustrating for the public to ask something but to have no response from the board," Buell said.
He hopes to give the people in the community a chance to voice their opinion in a less structured environment.
"This would give the public a chance to have a discussion with the board, ask questions that they feel are important and receive answers," Buell said. "This would be a great way to invite the public in to meetings and have a response to the issues at hand without the formality of a monthly meeting."
The idea of the discussion is to allow for more input and less isolation by board members, the public and teachers.
"I think it is a good idea," board member Ted Jackson said. "We would still need some sort of agenda, with general topics of discussion, every quarter or every month while school is in session."
Board president Brian Atkinson expressed the same thoughts.
"We can look into the idea if having a separate meeting at least once a month or quarter, however some sort of guidelines should be set, because certain discussions could become heated," he said.
Member Terry Barr also had the some of the same views.
"My biggest concern is this turning into a shouting match between parties," Barr said. "With these meetings lasting until 3 a.m."
Board members are going to write down ideas for consideration of an "open discussion forum."
"We want to still be able to allow for a back and forth discussion, but still have guidelines so that order is maintained," Atkinson said. "We are willing to try and see how it works."