Empathy with Apathy
I very much wanted to attend Donna Hughes’s lecture this evening at URI’s Kingston campus, but with teacher contract negotiations still ongoing, I felt somewhat obligated to attend tonight’s school committee meeting. Committee and union members alike may be asking: What school committee meeting? Apparently, it was canceled, but I’m not sure how a regular ol’ citizen could have known.
The Town of Tiverton’s Web site doesn’t mention anything, even in the Quick Announcements and Notices section. The town calendar doesn’t even include school committee meetings. The parent handbook says, “Announcement of all regular School Board Meetings will be made to the Newport
Daily News as least two (2) days prior to the meeting by the Superintendent,” but that paper’s Web site doesn’t seem like the place to check for updates. Nor does the Fall River Herald News, to which the school committee’s page instructs readers to turn, instead of the Newport Daily News.
Having a simple and consistent means for interested townspeople to check for basic operational information that will allow them to plan their lives is a basic requirement for a functional governing body. I have to say that I can empathize with my fellows’ apathy. This sort of unpredictability is unacceptable, and it only helps those who’ve organized in order to take as much as they can from the taxpayers.
It is incredibly simple, and virtually free, to set up an email list to which all interested parties can subscribe in order to receive up-to-date schedule changes and announcements. (And their receipt of the emails will help to motivate citizens’ attendance.) At the very least, there ought to be a single page on the Internet to which all town boards and committees can post announcements.