The board had planned to discuss the possible access to any abandoned school buildings by a private charter school in the future during a 6 p.m. closed door executive session that was to precede the 7 p.m. open meeting.
Instead, the charter school discussion will now be a part of the open meeting in the administration center in Switz City. The only other item that is included on the public meeting agenda is staff placements.
The board has recalled six teachers whose contracts were previously canceled because of a Reduction in Force action. The board needs to decide the class assignments for those teachers prior to summer in-service training sessions, according to WRV Superintendent Layton Wall.
Rural Lyons resident John Coleman filed a formal complaint early Wednesday morning with the Indiana Public Access Counselor protesting the board's original plan to talk in an executive session about a charter school possibly using corporation buildings that might be vacant in the future.
Coleman's complaint was filed before he had knowledge that the charter school discussion was "off the agenda" for the executive meeting and was now part of the public meeting agenda.
Wall told the Greene County Daily World, "The only thing we have on our (executive session) agenda is to look at staffing positions ... and some other personnel issues," Wall said.
When asked about the charter school discussion, Wall replied, "We are having an open session that involves charters (schools) and this new charter law and how it relates to the possible move of the elementaries here to the junior-senior high (campus). That's an open session deal."
Wall said originally the charter school matter was going to be a part of the closed door meeting.,
"Our original plan was to discuss it (charter schools in an executive session) and then we found out that we could not," Wall said.
Coleman agreed that his complaint, which he filed early Wednesday morning, is now probably a moot point, but he hopes the board and administration gets his message.
He added, "I guess they were going to do that until they heard all of my calling and rumblings."
Coleman's action came after he said he was told Tuesday by two school board members -- Roger Weaver and Jason Davidson -- that school attorney John Rowe was expected give the board a report on how to prevent charter schools from having access to any corporation buildings that may become available in the future.
Weaver confirmed to the Greene County Daily World on Tuesday night that the charter school issue was going to be discussed in the closed door session with the school's attorney.
Davidson would not confirm or deny that charter schools were going to be discussed in the executive meeting, but he added, "We're going to talk about a lot of things."
The board has been presented with a study plan recommendation to consolidate the elementary schools in Lyons and Worthington, however, no decisions have been made.
Coleman continued, "I'm glad they did (change the executive meeting agenda). I hope they will error on the side of keeping this discussion as open as possible. They are going to need huge community support to get through a referendum and the only way to get that is to get everybody on the team. It's not wrong to talk about consolidation. It's not wrong to look at those decisions. It's not wrong to talk about any options. They ought to discuss them all in public."
Coleman said he forwarded a copy of his complaint and his explanation for filing it to Wall, school attorney Rowe and the seven board members saying he believed the executive session of charter schools violates the Indiana Open Door Law.
Coleman also referenced the 1988 Indiana Court of Appeals decision in Simon vs. City of Auburn that states, "Public agencies may not seek legal advice from their attorneys in private about manners which are not related to litigation."
Coleman, a farmer and property owner, wrote in the complaint that executive sessions have a place, if the law is followed.
"As a resident and taxpayer in the WRV School District, I find it upsetting that our board has decided to work privately behind closed doors rather than openly with the public. It is my belief that executive sessions were never meant to keep all things private. Executive sessions were designed to keep personnel and current litigation matters private. The intent of an executive session is to not air a teacher's personal matters in public. It was not intended to be an avenue to keep quiet legal maneuvers to keep competition from occurring."
Coleman called for a transparent process in deciding if consolidating the two elementary schools and building a new school in Switz City is best for the students and the taxpayers.
In his explanation to board members, Coleman wrote: "I understand the difficulty of the economic environment you are facing. I understand the polarizing nature of the decisions you are making. It is because of these difficulties I would encourage you to work with the public in plain sight. There is no chance of a referendum passing without great public support. I believe this can only be achieved by having more people on the team, rather than behind closed doors. I am a strong supporter of our school board and will support our community always. Please do not take this action as a declaration for or against consolidating schools. I am not afraid to agree with tough decisions that may be made in the future. This action is only a condemnation of closed door meetings that should be held in public."