Brooks-Buck: Disband committee

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, October 8, 2015

A School Board member on Thursday recommended disbanding the City School Committee for Collaborative Fiscal Concerns, saying she believes it has become counterproductive.

Judith Brooks-Buck, who is the chair of the committee, made the recommendation during the School Board meeting.

“Creating an atmosphere of mutual respect among leaders is much more productive than the climate that exists in the current working group,” she said.


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The group was formed last year and also includes Councilman Mike Duman as vice chair, School Board member Linda Bouchard and Councilman Tim Johnson. The goal of the committee was to come up with cost-savings measures that could divert more money to the school system.

At the committee’s September meeting, Duman criticized what he perceived as a lack of progress in one of the committee’s projects — energy performance contracting, a state program that allows government bodies to make energy-saving upgrades with state-approved contractors, who agree to cover the difference if the energy savings do not pay for the debt service.

Duman had suggested the reason for the delay was Brooks-Buck’s insistence on the entire School Board approving the project and a lack of communication.

“I have never publicly or privately resisted the notion,” Brooks-Buck said Thursday. “I thought it was a great idea.”

Brooks-Buck said she believes the two bodies should instead continue collaborating through the education committee, a separate meeting that includes the mayor, city manager, school board chairman and superintendent.

“I think it’s unnecessary at this point, and I think it’s become counterproductive,” Brooks-Buck said, adding it is resurrecting perceptions of a poor working relationship between the two bodies.

She also decried what she called negative media coverage of the committee’s work.

Bouchard, the other member of the committee from the school board, disagreed that the committee should be disbanded.

“I think the committee should definitely continue,” Bouchard said. “I think it is worthwhile. I just think we should keep trying with this committee.”

Brooks-Buck made a motion to disband the committee, but nobody seconded it. Another motion to table the discussion until next month’s meeting passed unanimously.