Ann Ennis Wants EVSC’s To Adhere to Open Door and Freedom Of Information Laws


June 3, 2019

Special to City-County Observer From Ann M. Ennis

In response to the City-County Observer’s request for a written comment about the content of the May 26, 2019, Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation Board of Trustees meeting, I offer five statements.

  1. The EVSC Board of School Trustees is a member of the Indiana School Boards Association and through that membership, EVSC Trustees receive training.  In two sessions of New Board Training (totaling 5.5 hours plus two trips to Jasper, IN) and in a recent webinar titled “Open Door Law” the ISBA highly recommends that school boards avoid Executive Sessions as a matter of routine.
  2. According to the ISBA webinar, which all school trustees throughout Indiana have been provided as part of continuing education training, “Courts will look at Executive Session very closely in determining if it is lawful Executive Session… (the) opportunity to have an Executive Session is limited and (a board) cannot expand on these instances to have an Executive Session.” 
  3. Since my election, the EVSC Board of School Trustees has had 2-hour Executive Sessions prior to every Regular School Board meeting. This is public knowledge, as the occurrence of Executive Session is posted to the public prior to each session.
  4. I am impressed by the breadth, depth, passion and striving for excellence I see in the EVSC as a citizen, taxpayer, former EVSC student, former EVSC parent and now as an EVSC Trustee.  It is no small thing to be an open admission, welcoming all comers, unified school system with more than 22,500 students, thousands of employees and scores of facilities.  Educating National Merit Scholars, national award-winning academic honors students, and also educating profoundly physically and mentally handicapped students, with every step in between – as well as providing a host of services to private and parochial schools that cannot provide the expected level of service — is a challenge. The EVSC staff from top to bottom is working honestly, diligently and consistently to meet and exceed goals.
  5. Holding Executive Sessions that are longer than Regular School Board meetings on a routine basis hurts the credibility of the EVSC and invites distrust.  People do not see the work that is taking place:  They should see the work the schools do.  A community-supported school system needs to engage the community.  

I will continue to support the EVSC’s adherence to Open Door and Freedom of Information laws to benefit all students, staff, parents, and residents. By engaging the community in the work, wisdom, and even the worries we have, our schools will accomplish even more.

By the way, I also wish that our many voucher and Scholarship Granting Organization-funded private and parochial schools would adhere to Open Door Laws – but the state does not require that.  This is an entirely different conversation for another day.


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