During Wednesday’s board meeting, Banks read a statement accusing board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett of leading the board in a “unilateral and discriminatory manner” when she denied his previous requests to place a modified calendar, created by Banks, on the agenda for the May 11 work session meeting. Banks went on to charge that her denial of a new calendar on the agenda was both “disingenuous and hypocritical,” and requested that a vote on his modified calendar be placed on the board’s June 23 agenda.
After a contentious debate, the board voted 3-3, with Bartlett, vice-chair Scott Sweeney and Tim Stultz dissenting, to appeal Bartlett’s previous decision to keep the modified calendar off the agenda. While that vote failed, Banks, Lynnda Eagle and David Morgan all asked that the calendar item be placed on the discussion agenda at the board’s next meeting, which is allowable according to board policy, attorney Clem Doyle said.
Board member Kathleen Angelucci was absent from Wednesday’s meeting because she had to attend a doctor’s appointment with her daughter, Bartlett said.
Banks said he is proposing a modified calendar as a “compromise” to “bring closure to a very divisive issue.”
“This compromised calendar has never been discussed or debated either by the board or publicly, so there is no way for anyone, including you, can speculate the outcome,” Banks said to Bartlett. “It is evident by recent disclosure that special interests have been involved in the evolution and subsequent vote of February 2011.”
Bartlett and Banks’ calendar debate became heated when Banks brought up a case ruled on by the Supreme Court of Georgia that occurred in Randolph County where a board chair refused to place an item on the agenda at request of another board member.
“Mr. Banks, in February (the calendar) came up,” Bartlett said. “We talked it. We’ve appealed it —”
“No ma’am — ” Banks interrupted.
To which Bartlett said: “Mr. Banks, it is my turn to talk, will you wait? I’m tired of the lies … So I will ask again, if the majority agrees that they feel like we should be putting the calendar on the agenda, I don’t have an issue with it because we’ve appealed this process and you’ve looked at it. You’ve sent everybody copies of your modified calendar. The question is, in looking at the modified calendar, does this board want to have a motion to put that on the agenda?”
Banks, however, replied: “It’s not a question of this board, it’s a question of are you going to commit malfeasance in this office? The Supreme Court has already ruled.”
“I haven’t been to court, Mr. Banks,” Bartlett said. “And neither has the school board … and I followed the process. I am not Randolph County, thank you.”
Before agreeing with Banks to request that the calendar be put on the agenda, Morgan asked the Post 5 board member if this would be his last effort to change the calendar for next year.
“If there are three members that say OK, fine, we’ll put it on the next agenda,” Morgan asked. “After it’s debated and discussed and there’s a vote, public input, after all that, regardless to how it falls, it’s over?”
Banks replied: “It’s over … It’s nothing personal. I gain nothing from it. It’s what the constituency basically mandated to us.”
But following the meeting, Banks admitted that he might bring the calendar issue back up next year.
“It might come back up next year,” Banks said. “Once that door was open, it can come up any time. When Mr. Sweeney put it on the agenda in January, he changed a precedence.”
Banks is proposing a calendar with an August 8 start date that, like the balanced calendar, includes weeklong breaks in September and February and a two-week winter break to be taken the week before and after Christmas. His calendar would require an extension of the school day by at least 10 minutes. Although he has laid out this plan, the actual calendar does not exist yet, but Banks and Superintendent Fred Sanderson will be creating it in the days before the June 23 meeting.