In an effort to foster transparency, the Delavan-Darien School board has added a second monthly meeting and a 30-minute open discussion with district residents.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 27, the board will introduce a new meeting when members of the public may speak with board members and school officials from 6:30 to 7 p.m. During that time, the board, interim Superintendent Jill Sorbie and Business Administrator Anthony Klein will respond and engage in discussion with members of the public.

The meetings will take place on the fourth Monday of each month. A board quorum may or may not be present during the 30-minute forum. There will not a public comment portion once the regular meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Board members also will continue meeting on the second Monday, when citizens can speak for five minutes during the public comment period. But officials may not engage in conversation with commenters.

The new format was conceived at a board retreat last month, and members approved the measure at its regular meeting Monday night. On top of cultivating better communication with the public, which has been a major criticism of the district in the past few months, officials hope the result will be shorter meetings.

Monthly school board meetings had begun to exceed two or three hours of open session before the board entered closed session, which could sometimes last another few hours.

With the new format, board President Jeff Scherer said, the district hopes to whittle both meetings to about two hours.

But he said the ultimate goal of the additional meeting is to bolster the district’s crusade to be more transparent, which has been interim Superintendent Jill Sorbie’s mission since she assumed the position in July.

Sorbie said the forum is meant to communicate with district residents “our needs and understand what our concerns are.”

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