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Florida: Time for the Sarasota County School Board to Operate in the Sunshine

One Sarasota County School Board member has been pushing to have all meetings televised and open to the public. Her name is Bridgette Ziegler.

In November we wrote about Sarasota Herald-Tribune Opinion Editor Tom Tryon’s concern that Ziegler was bringing discord to the Sarasota School Board. We wrote:

Tryon is concerned that  in the local community there is “a palpable sense of hostility, enmity and animus.” Tryon wants to be the “can’t we all just get along” Rodney King of Sarasota, Florida. You know, think alike, be alike, don’t stand out from the crowd for your ideas and ideals. Perhaps Tryon should write a letter to President Obama on his enmity toward Republicans, rather than picking on a working mother who is doing her civic duty [Ziegler].

[ … ]

He wants this school board member [Ziegler] to embrace government secrecy and behind closed door “workshop” meetings in the name of being nice.

Well it appears others agree with Ziegler on operating in the sunshine, especially when it comes to the “closed door workshops” to select a new superintendent.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune reporter Shelby Webb recently reported:

The Sarasota County School Board will dip its toe into the search for Superintendent Lori White’s replacement during a monthly work session on Tuesday, but one local nonprofit has already cried foul.

Joe Hembree, president of the Argus Foundation, wrote a letter to the School Board asking that Tuesday’s monthly work session be televised.

He said agenda items referring to the superintendent search and the financial advisory committee are “very significant items of public interest” that should be easily accessible to parents, teachers, students and other stake-holders.

“Any discussions on these items, whether informative in nature or preliminary, are important ones and we feel strongly that the public should be informed and have easy access to view,” Hembree wrote.

Gee, is it not in the best interest for all to see the discussion on choosing a new superintendent? Does this not deserve the sunshine?

Ziegler has been vindicated. Time to give her credit where it is due.

As we wrote in November, “Abandon your principles, says Tryon, and you will be loved. Tryon has one thing right, the 2014 mid-term election is over. But the bad policies of the school board continue… Enmity is a good thing. Marching in lockstep is a bad thing, just as it is in Washington, D.C. and at Sarasota school board meetings. Different ideas must be heard, discussed in a civil manner and then voted on. That is the Constitutional Republican way.”