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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Some board members irked by Scott's closed-door visit to Madeira Beach Fundamental



When Gov. Rick Scott arrives at Madeira Beach Fundamental this afternoon he might not get the greeting he was expecting from some local school leaders. Scott has two closed-door sessions scheduled at the school today with teachers and then parents as part of his statewide "listening tour" this week.

Members of the public and the media aren't invited in. That includes school board members. Pinellas County superintendent John Stewart told board members last night that they could go and greet the governor, but then they would be asked to wait in the school library. 

That didn't sit well with board member Linda Lerner. 

"No, I'm not going to go greet you and then have to stay in the media center while you talk to my constituents," she said. "I'm appalled. If other board members want to go and greet him, that's fine."

Chairwoman Robin Wikle said she wasn't sure that those rules would be strictly enforced. But she said that she, too, objected to the idea of waiting outside while Scott talked to teachers and parents in a Pinellas County public school.

"I'm not going to wait," she said. "If he asks me to wait, I'm not sure what I'll do."

It's not clear how many board members will be at the school today, but Lerner said she does plan to attend after all. It should be interesting to see how board members react when they're asked to leave the room.

As a side note, generally if more than one board member is going to be at an event then it should be subject to the state's Sunshine Law - making it open to the public - but it's not an automatic. Board members can attend the same event so long as they don't discuss public business. But it does raise the question - how does the public know what was discussed behind closed doors? (This issue may be moot today if board members are booted out of the room.) 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:10am]


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