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New school board committees could mean fewer public meetings for Oklahoma City School District

The committees will focus on academics, operations, finance, government relations and nutrition.
by Tim Willert Published: June 13, 2014

Oklahoma City School District board members have formed exploratory committees in an effort to improve overall efficiency, a move that could result in fewer public meetings.

The committees will focus on academics, operations, finance, government relations and nutrition, and are expected to begin meeting at the end of the month, Oklahoma City School Board Chairwoman Lynne Hardin said Thursday.

“I think we’re looking at how we can effectively understand the operations, the government relations and the academics,” Hardin said. “Rather than everybody trying to get into everything, we’ll just assign some committees.”

Each committee will include one or more board members, a district staffer and possibly one or more community members with related experience. Committee meetings are informal and won’t include a board quorum.

“I think it’s important for board members to have a clear understanding of how the district is funded and how a nearly half-a-billion-dollar-a-year budget is allocated,” said member Bob Hammack, a business owner who will head the finance committee. “Obviously, a substantial part of that budget is committed to teacher salaries, benefits and other capital expenses.”

Interim district Superintendent Dave Lopez said having committees will help build relationships between board members and the district’s leadership team and give members a better understanding of topics that come before them.

“It lets the exchange of information and ideas take place earlier in the process, so we don’t have situations where the first time a board member is made aware of an initiative or an action is on a formal board agenda,” he said.

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by Tim Willert
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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