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School Board To Hold One of Its Monthly Meetings at City Hall

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School Board To Hold One of Its Monthly Meetings at City Hall
Posted on 12/01/2014

Beginning in February, the Portland Board of Public Education will hold its regular meeting on the first Tuesday of each month in City Council Chambers at City Hall. The board will hold its second regular monthly meeting – which takes place on the third Tuesday of each month – at alternating schools around the city. A calendar of meeting locations will be posted on the Portland Public Schools’ website for the year to provide predictability and greater public notification.

The school board currently holds its two regular monthly meetings at Casco Bay High School, located on Allen Avenue inside the Portland Arts and Technology High School.

“This move is about the community,” said Board Chair Sarah Thompson. “The Casco Bay High School meeting location is a challenge for some of our families and community members. The school board has been exploring meeting in Council Chambers for years, and this solution is the best of both worlds. We’ll be in City Hall for one meeting each month and  the other will be in the district’s schools, where our core business is happening – student learning. This year the board held some of its meetings in our school communities, such as Hall Elementary School and the Fifth Maine Regiment on Peaks Island. We found that we had greater community presence when we came to them.”

Portland Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said, “It is important to ensure that all our residents have access to school board meetings and can participate in them fully. This move will allow for that. We are all one Portland.”

Thompson will announce the meeting location changes at the school board’s Inauguration Ceremony, set for Monday, Dec. 1, at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall. The changes will become effective as of the board’s Tuesday, Feb. 3 board meeting.

Thompson noted that holding school board meetings at City Hall is a resumption of past practice. “This is not a new concept,” she said. “More than a decade ago the board held its meetings in City Council Chambers, but the meeting place was moved to its current location due to the city’s space needs and the need specifically for Council Chambers at that time.”

Thompson said moving the board’s meetings back to City Hall is overdue. In 2010, Portland voters approved revisions to the City Charter that changed the board’s name from the Portland School Committee to the Portland Board of Public Education and put it on equal footing with the City Council.

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"This move is about the community," says
School Board Chair Sarah Thompson.