November 20, 2019

Board Must Be Open and Responsive Both to Members and Community

To the Editor:

The Princeton Board of Education (BoE) has just mandated that its members may not publicly question School Board actions and policies, resolving that:

“Board members will serve as ambassadors for their district, emphasizing the positive aspects of the district.”

School Board members are not elected to represent the schools. They are elected to provide oversight for the community. How much oversight can be exercised if all communications must pass through the superintendent?

“2…Information prepared for deliberative purposes, will not be shared. If there is any question whether information is confidential, Board members will consult with the superintendent in advance.

…4. The superintendent will serve as the spokesperson for the district with the media.

5. The Board president will serve as the spokesperson for the Board with the media.”

Although BoE members are elected to represent the whole community, which pays for the schools through property taxes, this resolution passed 7:3.

Princeton’s BoE must be open and responsive both to its members and to the community. Provisions that in any way restrict free speech and discourse are unacceptable and must be repealed.

Mary Clurman and Peter Lindenfeld
Harris Road

Kate Warren
Jefferson Road

Shenwei Zhao
Prospect Place

Charlotte O’Connor
Patton Avenue

Phyllis Teitelbaum and Tony Lunn
Hawthorne Avenue

Adam and Sandra Bierman
Grover Avenue

Kip Cherry
Dempsey Avenue