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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Greenwich Resident Asks School Board To Step Down

To the Board of Education,

I believe the Board of Education is in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. Under the act, votes taken by the board are to be reduced to writing and made available for public inspection within 48 hours. Meeting minutes should also be posted on the website no later than SEVEN days after the session. I have been looking for the minutes of the Feb. 24, March 10, March 24, April 7, April 28 and May 12 meetings for significantly more than seven days. I brought this up to the board in a letter last week and its response was that the board posts videos of the meetings and has historically viewed that as meeting the state’s requirements. From reading the act, I think the spirit of the law is that minutes give the public the ability to obtain timely, objective and accurate information that is not affected by subsequent events without having to sit in front of their computers for hours. Whatever has prevented the minutes from being posted has impeded this community’s ability to be informed.

Since minutes were not available, I requested, under the Freedom of Information Act, a copy of all email correspondence between two specific board members and Superintendent Sidney Freund’s office for the period of Oct 1, 2010, to the date of Freund’s resignation. The board informed me on Tuesday that for that 7 1/2-month period, there are about 4,000 emails that meet my criteria. That is approximately 525 emails a month. I ask everyone whether you think 525 emails per month between Freund and two specific board members is appropriate and whether in that environment Freund was given the space he needed to do his job.

This is not about politics. This is about educating our children and giving the people we hire the respect and space to do their job. Questions are good, but when they are asked in an attempt to undermine decisions already made by the board, or interfere with the administration’s ability to function, it is wrong. And so long as those who behaved in that manner remain on the board, they will not only have cost us Freund, but will also give us no reasonable expectation of attracting and retaining a high quality superintendent to replace him. I urge you to resign and to do this as soon as possible.

-Vera Merrill

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