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Green Party Open letter to Minneapolis School Board

From: 5th Congressional District Green Party
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 3:59 PM
To: Minneapolis Board of Education

An Open Letter to the Minneapolis Board of Education
     Joseph Erickson
     Judy Farmer
     Sharon Henry-Blythe, Chair
     Audrey Johnson
     Colleen Moriarty
     Dennis Schapiro
     Ross Taylor

November 21, 2003

Dear Board Members,

We are writing to you regarding concerns expressed by some members
of our party regarding the process that will be used to choose the
new Superintendent. These members share the concerns of many other
Minneapolis residents whose children will be affected by this
decision and who were dismayed by the actions which led to the
Board's previous choice, David Jennings.

As you may know, one of the Four Pillars of the Greens is Grassroots
Democracy. We believe that open, public processes should be
available whenever possible in decisions, especially when the impact
is significant to the public. Indeed, Section M, Item 3B of the
State Green Party platform states, "We advocate cooperatively
managed schools in which operational decision making authority is
shared by students, parents, teachers and administrators."

Even though the choice of the Superintendent will ultimately be made
by the seven of you, it is clear that there is a broader set of
views in our community about the qualifications, skills and the
impacts of the person who will fill this role. We understand that
you have taken action towards improving the process for public input
to your search, and we applaud these positive steps.  

Some specific questions: Beyond the community forums held on the
13th and 20th of this month, does the Board plan to discuss the
appointment of a superintendent at open meetings? Will opportunities
for public comment be provided at said meetings?  If so, at what
stages of the process and how often (e.g., every two weeks, every
month)?

Notwithstanding any closed proceedings required by laws such as the
Data Privacy Act, we ask that you utilize transparent communications
and open meetings -- with opportunities for public comment -- in all
matters leading up to the selection of the next Superintendent. We
believe that in so doing, the Board will be able to regain a great
deal of the public trust that many feel was lost after the selection
of Mr Jennings.

We believe that this is an important issue to our constituencies and
to all Minneapolis Public School families.  Our focus on the long
term well-being of our city demands that our schools reflect the
values of the families who entrust their children to them.

In closing, we wish to thank each of you for taking the time and
energy to be a public servant, and we appreciate your efforts to
meet the educational needs of the students in the Minneapolis Public
Schools. We hope that as you move forward, you will do what is best
for our schools, our families and our children.

Sincerely,

The Steering Committee of the 5th Congressional District Green Party
     Francoise Dassier
     Christopher DeAngelis
     Nancy Doyle
     Stephen Harvey
     Eric Makela
     Rebecca Smith

5th Congressional District Green Party
PO Box 582763
Minneapolis MN 55458
(612) 782-2118
5cdgp@mngreens.org