Central Kitsap School District officials want to know how
effectively they communicate with the public.
The district is contracting for an audit of its communications
plan and materials, including its website, newsletters, press
releases and other materials. The audit, to be conducted by an
independent agency, is not required by any state or federal
mandate, said spokesman David Beil, who gave a Powerpoint
presentation on the audit at the Nov. 13 board meeting.
The purpose is to evaluate the district’s communication goals
and methods. The audit will include a parent survey and one-on-one
phone interviews with eight to 10 selected stakeholders, including
administrators, staff, parents and community members. Beil and
other district officials will review results of the audit in 2013
and implement suggestions for improvement.
Part of the audit will involve a review of media coverage of the
district, and auditors will speak with members of the media who
routinely cover CKSD. A review of this year’s media coverage by the
Kitsap Sun shows reports of friction involving the school board,
administration and teachers’ union.
The year began with voters
narrowly approving a special two-year levy to help the district
temporary loss of federal education funding for military
communities. The levy passed with 50.26 percent of the vote.
In June, some members of the Central Kitsap Education
Association issued a
vote of no-confidence in Superintendent Greg Lynch. About
half of CKEA’s 689 members attended the meeting, which included
discussion about some members’ concerns and a vote. In the vote on
the superintendent, 28 people abstained and 304 voted, of which 73
percent said they had no confidence in Lynch. Not a majority of the
membership, in other words.
Later in June,
friction within the board was apparent as board members Christy
Cathcart and Eric Greene expressed dissatisfaction with Lynch over
communication with the board. Board President Chris Stokke called
the board into executive session. Nearly two hours later, they
reconvened and Stokke read a short, typed statement expressing the
board’s confidence in Lynch.
In September, the board issued
its determination that complaints against the superintendent were
unfounded, along with a public apology to Lynch and the
administration for any “unintended, negative impacts to their
On Nov. 13, the board considered an agenda item “To Receive and
Determine a Process for Evaluating Complaints Against One or More
School Directors.” The board will take up the matter again on
Wednesday. At the Nov. 13 meeting, Stokke said the agenda item was
related to letters the board has received from community members
over the summer and fall. He did not identify the board members
against whom the complaints were lodged.
The board debated whether to begin discussion of the complaints
in executive session. A policy of the board allows for an executive
session “to receive and evaluate complaints or charges brought
against a director or staff member; however, upon the request of
such director or staff member, a public hearing or a meeting open
to the public shall be conducted on such complaint or charge.” The
question was whether the person(s) against whom the complaints were
lodged should have the right to call for discussion to start in an
The board went back and forth on whether to use a facilitator.
Stokke said it would be difficult for him to both mediate the
process and participate in it.
Another question the board tackled was how it should determine
when a complaint against a public official rises to the level that
it requires a formal investigation such as is being proposed. Board
member Mark Gaines ventured his opinion that the complaints in
question do rise to that level. “I say we need to address it
because of the serious allegations and the pall it could cast on
the board,” Gaines said.
The board eventually decided to continue its discussion to
Wednesday, with the goal of hammering out a proposed process for
handling the complaints and a plan to vote on the process during
its meeting Dec. 12.
Reporter Steve Gardner, who now covers CKSD, will be at
Wednesday’s meeting. I’ll fill in for him as needed at future
meetings, as we now share the education beat, and we will continue
to cover the process for handling the aforementioned complaints, as
the board makes its way through it.
Chris Henry, reporter
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