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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why Portage Needs New Perspective on the School Board

» More From The Kalamazoo Gazette

Portage board defends meeting site
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
By Sarita 388-8575

Portage Public Schools trustees and the district's attorney say the school board did nothing wrong in moving a discussion of candidates for superintendent from its board room to a conference room without public notice.

After two 90-minute public interviews with superintendent candidates at the district administration building Wednesday, trustees moved to a conference room to discuss candidates' merits. The room had a board suitable for writing down notes and was better suited for the board to have dinner, but trustees also wanted to critique candidates in private, the board's president and vice president said.
``These are people -- their lives and their careers,'' board president Shirley Johnson said of the candidates. ``We wanted to be extremely sensitive.''

Melanie Kurdys, who is running for a school board seat May 8, said she asked Johnson and board attorney John Manske if she could attend the meeting in the conference room, but was discouraged from doing so. Kurdys said she decided not to attend because she felt she would be a distraction as the board considered possible successors to retiring superintendent Pete McFarlane.

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