A $55 million school facilities project is a pretty big deal for the community. We wish the Streetsboro Board of Education had been more open with the residents when selecting the architect to oversee this venture.
While there is no legal requirement that a school board discuss such contracts in public before approving them, we would think the School Board would want to err on the side of openness.
The Board has been criticized by some for a lack of transparency and willingness to entertain public dialogue on important issues facing the district and community. Just last summer the School Board found itself defending itself (successfully) against a legal complaint, alleging a violation of the state's open meetings laws.
Now, Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh has told us the School Board has decided which architect will undertake the project. There was no public discussion of the three finalists before the announcement. without any public discussion about the three finalists.
District officials told The Streetsboro Gateway News final interviews took place over the weekend of March 15 and 16, behind closed doors. The following day, the name of the firm the Board plans to hire was announced.
On March 21, The Streetsboro Gateway News asked the superintendent, Board president and vice president when the hiring was discussed in public, and, if it wasn't, why not. The only reply we got was from Daulbaugh, who said the Board will discuss the selection at its next meeting. While we're glad to hear that, it seems like a public discussion should have happened before a decision was made, not after.
We hope in the future -- during the hire of the construction management firm, for example -- the School Board sees fit to discuss the pros and cons of at least some of the applicants in the open, so members of the community can hear more about the rationale behind its decisions before they're made.