Open Records vs the taxpayer funded Madison school board

Chris Rickert:

Nicki Vander Meulen, who was elected to the board in 2017 and serves as the board’s clerk, said that in response to the union’s push, district administrators in a private “board briefing” Monday with her and another board member said acceding to the union’s demand would set a “bad precedent.”

“That’s virtually telling you how to vote,” she said.

Vander Meulen is not the first board member to question the legality of board briefings, which were instituted in 2013 by just-departed former superintendent Jennifer Cheatham and are held separately between one or two board members and administrators to go over items on upcoming agendas.

Former board member TJ Mertz stopped attending the meetings out of fear they could amount to the creation of “walking quorums,” which occur when members of a public body coordinate privately to take a certain action, thus rendering “the publicly held meeting a mere formality,” according to the state Department of Justice.

Madison has for decades spent far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts. Yet, we’ve long tolerated disastrous reading results.