Correction: Our apologies, we apparently misunderstood a readers comments (see below) regarding the posting of the agenda for tomorrow evenings agenda. As you can see the reader makes mention of not having seen it there before, we mistook that to mean that the agenda was not normally posted but in hindsight it appears the person posting the comment was equally unclear as to what is typically done regarding the agenda. It seems that it may actually be a case of the agenda being posted on their attorneys letterhead for the first time? We are unsure but according to readers comment, the agenda is typically posted as required by law. Our apologies for the mistaken information as it was not done intentionally but in error. Please forgive us and thank you both the poster who informed us of the posted Agenda and the poster who corrected our information. You are both appreciated as we couldn't do this without you.
Our always well informed Andrew25 was kind enough to give us a heads up (although the above post is not his but as usual, he knows these things before anyone else) regarding MVRCS first attempt at following the laws regarding the 'Open Meeting' laws. The agenda can be found at www.cityofmalden.org under the 'Meetings' tab on the left (I believe). While we have been slotted for discussion during the 'Executive Session' (see below for the laws governing the Board entering into Executive Session), make note that 'Transportation' has also been identified as a subject matter. According to our sources, the transportation laws require MVRCS to provide transportation for students who reside 2 driven (not linear as the school has been doing) miles from the school. One would expect that this information will be transmitted to the public but we will see on Wednesday evening.
While a few of you continue to question our insistence on remaining anonymous, MVRCS has provided us with support for our decision. For the first time (to our knowledge) MVRCS has submitted an agenda for the Board Meeting that will be held Wednesday, September 15, 2009. In that agenda they have identified their intent to seek legal counsel regarding this site and their allegations of slander and libel against the creators of this blog. While no person, business, or organization wants to see negative information being written about them, this is as perfect of an example that one could ask for to support our belief that the Board and Administration are not open to criticisms or questions regarding their actions. Their attempt at bullying or intimidating us will not work.
We also feel the need to draw your attention to the irony of this matter as they have clearly been in violation of a number of laws it is humorous to us that they would threaten legal action against others. Furthermore, in many ways we would welcome their bringing legal action against us as by doing so they would be required under discovery laws to allow our attorneys access to all forms of communication and documentations related to our allegations against them. Under libel and slander laws, they would be required to prove our statements were not only false but written with malice or ill will against them and/or the school and that they suffered as a result. As we have written repeatedly, we mean no harm to the school but rather are attempting to preserve it and hold them accountable under to the laws that govern them. Unfortunately, the schools ethical integrity was already in question before the creation of this blog and can be well documented and spoken to.
As a final point to this discussion we draw from the U.S. Constitution, specifically the First Amendment and the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition for a governmental redress of grievances (i.e. the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one's government without fear of punishment or reprisals).
Minutes must be taken and votes recorded through roll call votes during executive session. Records remain secret only so long as publication may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session. G.L. c. 30A, § 11A½(7).
Under G.L. 30A, § 11A½, Boards may hold executive sessions only in seven limited situations, including:
1. To discuss the “reputation, character, physical condition or mental health rather than the professional competence” of a particular individual.
2. To consider the discipline or dismissal of an employee, or to hear complaints or charges brought against a public officer, employee, staff member, or individual.
NOTE: If the Board is meeting in executive session under either of these two prior exceptions, the individual in question is afforded certain rights, including the right to have notice of the meeting, the right to be present, the right to have counsel attend, and the right to speak on his/her own behalf.
3. To discuss strategy relating to litigation or collective bargaining.
4. To discuss the deployment of security personnel or devices.
5. To investigate charges of criminal misconduct or to discuss the filing of criminal complaints.
6. To consider the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property, if an open discussion may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the governmental body with a person, firm, or corporation.
7. To comply with the provisions of any general or special law or federal grant-in-aid requirements.
If a Board of Trustees does not comply with the Open Meeting Law, it may face a variety of sanctions. Three or more registered voters, as well as the Attorney General or the District Attorney may bring suit to enforce the Open Meeting Law by filing a complaint in the Superior Court or the Supreme Judicial Court alleging a violation of the Law by any governmental body. The court may then enter an order requiring that the board be in compliance with the Open Meeting law in the future, invalidating any action taken at any meeting in which the Law has been violated, and/or requiring that the records of the meeting be made public, in addition to any other remedy available under the law.
UPDATE ON TRANSPORTATION ISSUE:
Although unable to reach the appropriate person (he is out of the office today and tommorrow), we have been informed that although the school is reimbursed by the state for transportation as they are a 'regional' charter school, they are also allowed under the laws to charge a transportation fee.
As for the transportation issue, we direct you to this site http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/governance/adminguide.pdf page 43. We have not verified what exactly this means but MVRCS is a 'Regional' charter school...Does this mean that they are charging parents AND being reimbursed by the state? Looking into this as we are unsure.
Regional Transportation Reimbursement
In accordance with G.L. c. 71, § 89(ff), a regional charter school is reimbursed for transportation costs incurred in transporting students who reside outside of the school’s local school district and in the charter school’s region as specified in its charter. To be eligible for reimbursement through the state regional transportation reimbursement program, a charter school must:
be designated a regional charter school by the Board of Education; and
have a charter that provides for the transportation of all students who reside in the charter school’s designated region but outside the district in which the charter school is located.
The reporting mechanism for reimbursement under this program is identical to that used for reimbursement for within-district transportation. No reimbursement is available for a charter school that provides transportation for students residing outside of its designated region.
A charter school transports children living outside the local school district but within the region specified in its charter. After the end of the school year, the school will complete a report provided by the Department to document the costs associated with their regional transportation program. The Department will reimburse those costs, subject to appropriation, in the next academic school year.
Full details about transportation obligations and reimbursement programs can be found in Charter School Technical Advisory 07-2: Transportation, available online at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/tech_advisory/07_2.html. Charter schools may also contact the Coordinator of Research and Finance in the Charter School Office for
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