In show of trust, SD2 board shuffles committees

2014-07-28T20:03:00Z 2014-07-29T08:36:05Z In show of trust, SD2 board shuffles committeesBy DEREK BROUWER dbrouwer@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

In a sign of emerging trust among trustees, members of the School District 2 school board agreed Monday to retool the board's committee structure in an effort to govern more effectively.

Trustees waxed for close to 90 minutes about the board's organization during a special meeting on the topic, ultimately deciding to divide their responsibilities among a series of committees.

For the last few years, the SD2 board has functioned as a "committee of the whole" in which all nine members served together on various committees.

The approach, which stemmed in part from distrust among prior boards, has since become burdensome and confusing, trustees said.

"I feel like the full board in the current structure is at the same time overloaded with work and information and also overwhelmed," said trustee Kevin Toohill, who participated by video conference.

The board's ability to think in terms of the big picture has suffered as a result, board chair Allen Halter said.

"I think there's been a little bit of lack of vision and strategic planning and board goals," Halter said. "I don't think I even know what our board goals are."

Rob Rogers said the "committee of the whole" setup has also alienated community members, who haven't had a participating role on SD2 board committees in recent years.

Instead, three board members will now serve on each of three committees — performance monitoring, stakeholder and planning/development — and will then report back on their work to the full board during regular meetings. The makeup and scope of each committee was not determined Monday.

"If we have a shared vision, and we trust each other, we should be able to have committees," trustee Teresa Stroebe said.

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