Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The Fayetteville School Board violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act Thursday night. …

"Without a vote in the open, the public is denied its right to see the decision-making conducted on its behalf. Perhaps some may see the winnowing of this list to four people as unimportant, but public bodies must be held to a standard of openness with each decision. No decision of a public body is insignificant….

"The problem is these violations of the law always flair up at critical decision-making moments. School board members will never violate open-meetings laws when they’re voting to support a resolution praising the district’s national merit semifinalists. The violations will always happen on crucial decisions when the public’s right to observe the decision-making process is most important, and when, perhaps, school board members are less comfortable rendering public decisions.

"It shouldn’t require a newspaper editor to remind the school board president of his responsibilities to the public. Every time school board members veer toward secrecy on an issue, they should recognize their responsibility to determine whether they are within the law, and part of each member’s leadership should be staunch advocacy for very public decision-making."

-- Greg Harton, “Time to Study Harder,” Northwest Arkansas Times

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