In a surprise move yesterday, the Brentwood Union School District Board of Trustees announced that they will host a closed session “Special meeting” today at 3:00 pm for a performance evaluation of Superintendent Merrill Grant followed by what they are labeling as “Discipline/Dismissal/Release”.
The meeting begins at 3:00 pm and will be located at the District Service Center on 255 Guthrie Lane in Brentwood.
Here is what the agenda says under Item 3
- 3.0: Public Employee Performance Evaluation: Superintendent
- 3.1: Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release
While the Board will report out of closed session, it would be prudent for the Board of Trustees to reconsider item 3.1 as closed session and instead make it a public discussion in order to earn back trust from the public—if they were to change their mind, this would push the meeting back to Monday at the earliest.
But today is perfect for the Board to finally act for many reasons.
For starters, Friday’s are typically news drops for many organizations because it gives people who will ridicule a decision/announcement the weekend to calm down. Friday’s typically have fewer people paying attention while most importantly by Monday, the decision/announcement is typically already out of the news cycle. Finally, most firings occur on Friday which could be a hint of what is coming this afternoon. Having said that, from a strategic standpoint and perspective of the Board of Trustees, today is a very smart day to announce a District changing decision.
Still, the overall problems remain which is the lack of courtesy and transparency from the Board of Trustees. They could have done a better job in announcing this meeting which as of last night, many stakeholders within the community had no idea this meeting was going to occur.
Having called this meeting with little notice and an alternative start time doesn’t build trust or relationship, it still looks suspect. It also ensures few people as possible will attend and ask questions.
For example, due to Item 3.0. and 3.1 being in closed session, what kind of backroom deals will be accepted in order for Superintendent Merrill Grant to keep his job? Will Principal Lauri James be made the scape goat to save Grant? For that reason, 3.1 should be a public discussion by the Board.
I could see a situation this afternoon occurring where Merrill Grant is retained while Lauri James, Dina Holders and others are severely disciplined or dismissed.
Ultimately, while I don’t have to like the fact the Board is not offering total transparency, let’s hope a decision is made today where the parents of Brentwood can finally move on and let the healing begin.