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LWVS Encourages Proactive Community Engagement with the School Board

Community engagementThe following was sent to Scarsdale10583 by the Scarsdale League of Women Voters:

League Board Comment on Board of Education Community Engagement

The League of Women Voters of Scarsdale, Board of Directors (the “League Board”), appreciates this opportunity to offer input and comment on the Board of Education’s Community Engagement Process. The League Board believes that proactive community engagement is of vital importance to Board of Education members (the “Board”). The following thoughts and recommendations have been coalesced from past League consensus statements.

General Recommendations

As the League promotes the active participation of citizens in government; we encourage the Board:

to be proactive and wide-reaching in soliciting input and feedback;
to engage in dialogue with community members and groups to better and more fully understand constituent views and broader community priorities.

Some ways to achieve this would be Board coffees, focus groups and formal invitations to specific neighborhoods for Board meetings.

The League believes that a more complete picture of community feedback, combined with relevant expert opinions and research, will serve to enhance Board decisions on complex issues as well as facilitate community understanding and appreciation of the schools.

We encourage the Board to engage in a methodical public process to ensure that resulting Board policies and decisions accurately reflect Scarsdale community values.

The League recommends that the Board:

-engage early interest in District issues;
-actively seek input from residents to identify the range of community sentiment;
-engage in clear and timely communication methods;
-create spaces for dialogue.

Budget Process

In terms of the annual Budget process, the League recommends that the Board:

provide the community sufficient information and time necessary to view any Administration or Board member Budget recommendation within the larger
context of District educational goals, a master facilities’ plan, and through the lens of Scarsdale’s role as an educational leader.

The League believes that in order to understand what is at stake for our children and our community in the budget process and to make informed choices, voters need transparency on all value considerations including the needs that are not being addressed in any given proposed budget, in order to better understand the wider breadth of future District needs and plans.

Advocacy

The League recommends that the Administration and Board reinstate a Legislative Advisory Committee comprised of broad community representation, in order to:

-monitor relevant legislative issues;
-increase the number of community members educated on current issues;
-expand the community’s engagement;
-and to raise an awareness of the often-complicated legislative issues that may impact the district.

The League Board looks forward to further engagement with School Board members on process and policies to best support and enhance Scarsdale Schools and the community at large.

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