Lines of communication have always been open
A Cherry Hill Sun editorial criticized Boards of Education for a lack of transparency during the development of the 2010–2011 budget.
Perhaps this was an editorial written for an Elauwit paper in another township or it was recycled from another era.
In fact, the Cherry Hill Board of Education established a new standard for transparency this year.
The Board held six budget planning meetings in open session from January through March. In addition, the Board discussed the budget at regular monthly meetings in February and March.
All of these meetings were publicized on our Web site, via the district e-news, and on CHPS TV, our cable access channel (channel 19 on Comcast/Channel 24 on Verizon), as well as in the Courier-Post.
At each meeting, the Board provided the opportunity for public input. The meetings were very well attended by staff, parents, students, and other community members.
Summaries of each meeting and meeting handouts were posted on the district Web site within 24 hours — in fact, usually before the following morning.
The last three budget meetings (March 16, March 18, and the March 31 public hearing) were streamed live on the district Web site. Hundreds of viewers logged on to watch the proceedings; in addition, residents were able access those meetings from a link on our website for later viewing at their convenience.
Board members also held four less formal “Budget Conversations” throughout the month of March to talk about the budget, gather input, and respond to questions. They met with student representatives from both high schools. They also visited meetings of various civic associations and community groups.
Our school district Web site (www.chclc.org) includes a budget information page with a link prominently displayed on the home page.
The complete budget is posted on the Web site in the state-defined “User Friendly Format,” in accordance with the School District Accountability Act. The website also includes links that residents can use to post questions about the budget (and view the answers of course), as well as a link to provide cost-savings ideas.
Throughout the year, the district produces a weekly electronic newsletter that includes information about board action, district initiatives, the accomplishments of our students and staff, and upcoming events in our schools and throughout the community.
Anyone can sign up for e-mail notification; just scroll to the bottom of the district’s home page (www.chclc.org) and type in your e-mail address. It’s a great way to stay informed about our public schools throughout the year, not just at budget time.
Another way, of course, is through your newspaper. Your reporter covered most of the public budget meetings (and could’ve come to the Budget Conversations as well).
Finally, the district submitted multiple columns for The Sun about the proposed budget.
We are big believers in the notion that education is a shared responsibility.
Every resident has a vested interest in the success of our public schools, regardless of whether they have children in those schools. We make every effort to provide as much information as possible.
Explore our information resources.
Come to a board meeting, visit the Web site, sign up for e-news, or just give us a call.
The communication lines are open.
Cherry Hill Board of Education
Public Information Officer
Cherry Hill Public Schools