Weekly Feature

2017-08-10 / Local News

Maryvale adds work sessions to meeting agenda

by BRYAN JACKSON
Editor

Maryvale residents will soon get a clearer look at district decisions, as the Board of Education decided at Monday’s meeting to begin holding work sessions.

The work sessions will take place on the same night as regular meetings and be scheduled after the second resident input section, which is typically the last item on the agenda. According to board President Brian Pilarski, the move would allow district decisions to be more open.

“We’re looking to add [work sessions] to the agenda for future meetings, blocking off time for public work sessions so that the public can be present for going over issues and items pertaining to the district,” he said.

The board decided to put the work sessions at the end of the meeting so members of the public would have the option to leave after the regular meeting or stay for discussion on future items. Additionally, placing the sessions at the end of the meeting, rather than the beginning, would give the board more flexibility to tackle more complex, longer issues without butting into the regular meeting’s time. Board members said they would also use the work sessions to decide topics for future meetings. If items came up between meetings, the board would establish work session topics by email.

While the work sessions are public, residents are not permitted to speak or address the board during them. However, regular resident input sections will remain part of the regular meetings.

The board unanimously approved adding the work sessions and it will be added to the agenda for the next meeting. In addition, the board is considering scheduling more substantial quarterly or twice-yearly work sessions for broader, longer-term issues.

In other matters, the district’s 2017-18 tax rate will be $18.03 per $1,000 of assessed value, a decrease from last year’s rate, which came in between $18.16 and $18.52. The rate drop was due in large part to an increase in overall assessed value in the district of slightly less than $31 million, according to Stephen Lunden, assistant superintendent for administrative services. Homeowners’ property assessments will determine whether or not the rate decrease will lead to a dip in their tax bills.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, in the Samuel R. Bennett Building, 1050 Maryvale Drive, for the final time before staff and students return for the new school year.

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