Public School Board Continues Effort to be More Transparent


More changes at the Greater Essex County District School Board to improve accessibility for parents and community members.

Last month, the board started live steaming its meetings on YouTube and now, in an effort to be more transparent, it'll begin archiving past meeting agendas on its website.

Trustee Alicia Higgison called for the change and says, as it stands now, only the newest agenda is posted online making it tough for anyone interested in looking at what was discussed at a past meeting.

She says it's all about communication.

"We're accountable to the public," says Higgison. "I always think there's an opportunity for us to be communicating with parents, with stakeholders, with community organizations, with anybody that is interested in the work that we do. I think we need to make it more apparent to them. I think we need to remove any barriers that we can to them getting that information and increase public trust." 

She says this will make it easier for the public to stay informed on the important decisions made at board meetings.

"We're at a time when time and trust are really dwindling. Anything that we can do, especially as public officials, as people who are accountable to the public, to increase transparency and the eyes on what we're doing and the ability for people to really feel like they're engaging in the process, any way that we can offer that for the public, I think that's part of our job." 

Higgison says this is something parents were asking for.

"When I was campaigning I heard a lot, what is a trustee and what do they do? So I think that while there are big decisions being made here in this room that directly affect kids and directly affect the neighbourhoods we live in, it's incumbent upon us as leaders in the community to make that more accessible to the public," she says.

Going forward, an agenda archive dating back three years will be available on the board's website.

Higgison adds anyone interested in a meeting not included in the online archive can request a copy of the agenda as hard copies are kept at the board's main office on Park St.