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At the beginning of the Feb. 22 District 65 School Board meeting, Board president Keith Terry and Superintendent Hardy Murphy read prepared statements concerning the last ten minutes of the Board’s Jan. 24 meeting.
Mr. Terry said, “The last ten or twelve minutes of that meeting [the Jan. 24 meeting] was not the Board’s best moment. In fact it was truly uncharacteristic of the Board’s behavior. I have been on the Board for 93 meetings and what was on display at that meeting has never occurred while I sat in this chair or on this Board.
“…That night, in response to a simple request to add something to a future agenda, an intense debate occurred and an exchange among Board members and among Board members and the Superintendent crossed the line. It is something this Board is not proud of and something the Board needs to apologize for. So on behalf of the District 65 Board of Education, I would like to apologize to the community, students, parents, teachers, staff and all the people who the District 65 Board of Education serves.
“…We have a policy that any Board member can place an item on future agendas by working with the Board president. However, the Board’s past practice leads us not to follow that policy. The Board now needs to follow its policy, and going forward any Board member can place items on a future agenda by simply working with the Board president.
“Ms. Quattrocki was absolutely right in her request to place a future item on the agenda, and the Board’s reaction was wrong. We apologize to Ms. Quattrocki for what happened on the 24th and by not following policy.”
Mr. Terry also said a strength of the Board has been its ability to talk to each other during periods of passionate discussion and real disagreement, and that to ensure that the level of communication did not decrease he called a special closed session meeting of the Board on Feb. 16 for the purpose of “self-evaluation” with a representative of the Illinois School Board of Education present. He said during that four-hour session the Board agreed to vigorously follow Board policy, that there would not be an agenda item to discuss “other topics” at the end of a meeting, that a self-evaluation form would be provided in the packets for Board members to fill out at the end of each meeting, and that the Board would be more civil in their deliberations and stay focused on the topics.
Dr. Murphy also read a prepared statement. He said, “It’s important for me to say that I certainly regret that the discussion at the conclusion of the last Board meeting has become a distraction. Unfortunately, some of what I said was taken to question the Board’s commitment. That is incorrect. My comments were simply misunderstood. It is clear to me that everyone around this table cares about our students. As a Board you demonstrate this in many ways. The long hours, the earnest discussions, and the many meetings attended by all of you are evidence of how much you care. It is seen in the services of our Board members, the hard work of our administrative team, the leadership of our principals, the passion for teaching seen in the classrooms in our District and the support of parents.
”It was not my intent to raise a question of the Board’s commitment. That is not what I meant and I’m sorry if any Board member was offended. I hope that we can put this misunderstanding behind us and continue working together, providing high quality education that distinguishes our School District.”