Westwood School Board Elects New President Amidst Debate on Transparency and Leadership

At the latest gathering of the Westwood School Board, key developments included the election of Jason Garcia as the new board president, the formation of new committees, and discussions on transparency, particularly concerning the elimination of live streaming for the meetings. The session was marked by the administration of oaths to newly elected members, debates on the board’s leadership, and the public’s strong appeals for ethical conduct and unity within the board.

Jason Garcia emerged as the new board president after a series of votes and considerable debate. His election brought forth a call for unity and the restoration of trust among the school community. Garcia outlined his plans, which included the establishment of four committees to address various aspects of board governance. He requested his fellow trustees to express their preferences for these committees, signaling a move towards a more structured and participatory approach in board operation.

The debate over the live streaming of board meetings proved to be a issue. Community members voiced their concerns about the decision to eliminate live streaming, a tool many believed was crucial for maintaining transparency and accountability. The public’s demand for the reinstatement of live streaming was met with reminders from board members that such operational decisions fell under the superintendent’s purview. Despite this, the issue remained at the forefront of the community’s concerns, with repeated calls for action to be taken to address the matter.

The meeting also involved the public forum, where district residents and staff had the opportunity to express their views. The forum highlighted the community’s mixed reactions to the board’s conduct, with some congratulating the new leadership, while others criticized the time and manner in which the board elections were conducted. Concerns were raised about the role of the acting superintendent, with questions regarding the timeline for the superintendent’s full return and the process by which the board was notified.

An official addressed the attendees, acknowledging the community’s concerns but clarifying that they could not comment on personnel matters. They assured those present of their commitment to the district and its educational mission. A resident emphasized the importance of the board working collaboratively for the benefit of the children and educators, urging the newly elected members to provide fair and equal leadership.

This act of reaffirmation was a response to the underlying tone of the meeting, where the board’s ethics and past actions were called into question by both community members and fellow board members.

The discussion of annual motions saw Miss Andrea Peck motioning to move annual motions A through J, which were seconded and approved without incident. However, the conversation took a turn when a board member questioned the inclusion of certain items in motion F, prompting a broader discussion on the appropriateness of the pre-printed content and the perceived pettiness in board decisions.

The appointment of the new vice president also unfolded during the meeting. Andrea Peck was nominated and elected to the position amidst conversations surrounding the election process.

Additional topics of interest during the meeting included the process for interviewing candidates for board president and the discussion of a motion concerning the election of various board and district positions.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Dr. Jill Mortimer
School Board Officials:
Jason Garcia, Andrea Peck, Loni Azzolina, Laura Cooper, Douglas Cusato, Nicole Martin, Kristen Pedersen, Heather Perin, Jorge Pertuz, Frank Connelly, Bronwen Calderon (Director of Secondary Education), Denise Velez (Director of Elementary Education), Keith A. Rosado, Glen Becker (Director of Buildings & Grounds), Shelley LaForgia

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