Board of Education’s 2005-06 evaluation of superintendent: next steps

On October 31, the Human Resources Committee of the Madison Board of Education reviewed a memo from Juan Jose Lopez, the chair of the committee. According to the memo, the Board developed goals for the 2005-06 evaluation of the superintendent during its recent closed sessions to evaluate his performance between 2002 and now.
If so, I believe that the Board violated the requirements of the Wisconsin Open Meetings law in those sessions. The Open Meetings law permits the Board to meet in closed sessions to consider “performance evaluation data”. That is, the Board may discuss how the superintendent’s performance measures up under the performance standards. The law does not permit the Board to develop the standards for future evaluations behind closed doors. That’s why the October 10 meeting was scheduled as an open meeting. The Board must hold its discussion of future standards for this evaluation in public.
The memo also refers to a still secret document, “the Superintendent’s evaluation”, and recommends that the next evaluation of Superintendent Art Rainwater focus on four categories. Did the Board evaluate the superintendent in just four categories? We can’t say, because the sessions were closed. Were there other ideas about where improvement is needed? We can’t say, because the sessions were closed. Is this memo an accurate summary of Board discussions? We can’t say, because the sessions were closed.
The next step is another Human Resource Committee meeting. Board members are encouraged to submit recommendations for the next evaluation before this meeting.
The memo follows:

October 31, 2005
TO: Members of the Board of Education
FROM: Juan José López
SUBJECT: Superintendent’s Goals for 2005-06
The following are goals that were articulated in the Superintendent’s evaluation:
1. Specific targets and measures need to be identified for each area of the Strategic Plan.
a) Following this first year of specific targets and measures, an Annual Report should be developed that identifies the base line measure.
b) This year, and in subsequent years, the Annual Report should give updates on the progress of each of these priorities.
2. The Board would like a detailed plan describing how the district will improve progress on our math goal.
a) The plan should include ways to measure our annual progress at specific elementary and middle school grades, as well as at 9th and 10th grades.
b) This year, and in subsequent years, the Annual Report should give updates on the progress of each of these priorities.
3. The Board would like more information on the district’s collaborations/partnerships and to be kept informed of changes and developments.
a) Each collaboration/partnership should be identified in terms of participants, goals, and potential savings or benefit to district.
b) New collaborations/partnerships are encouraged, but are expected to have a net gain in terms of personnel, student benefit, resources, or long term goals when all staff time is considered.
4. The Board requests that the Superintendent develop a formal process to identify culturally competent potential administrators from within the District, and to develop their skills and experiences. The proposed process and potential participants should be identified by the end of the academic year, with implementation planned for the following year.