Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, February 05, 2007

Norwood BOE Prez unresponsive to Enquirer’s emailed test question

But was it a fair test?

According to the Enquirer’s study of 63 schools districts’ websites in 7 counties on both sides of the Ohio River, “73% don’t list direct phone numbers for school board members; 40% don’t offer direct e-mail addresses, and 33% of school systems offer neither.” While the BOE page on the NCS website does list email addresses for each board member “,” it doesn’t list either their home email addresses/telephone numbers or a specific school district office phone number with voice mail for them. In contrast, all 7 Norwood city council members’ home phone numbers are on council's webpage on the City’s website, 5 members list their personal email addresses, each has a voice mail number, and some have included mobile, work and fax numbers. Obviously, the BOE has a ways to go to be as easily accessible to the public as Norwood’s city council.

We called the NCS district offices this morning to find out exactly how the email system for school board members works. We were told the system does not prompt board members when they have an email; rather, each member must remember to periodically check the system for emails and can do so from any computer by using a special code. We were also told the 2006-2007 District Calendar publishes each board member’s home telephone number. That being the case, why not also publish them on the school board’s webpage, which is where we think most people would actually look for and expect to find them?

As for the Enquirer’s email that Board President Rick Guy didn’t answer after a week, we’re not convinced a fair test was conducted. We think the Enquirer should have sent a minimum of two emails in different weeks for their test to have any kind of validity. But we also think the school’s system is flawed in terms of board members not being prompted/notified when they have emails. Why not post the personal email addresses of board members - a la Norwood city council - on their webpage? Wouldn’t that result in faster responses to parents' and community members' emailed questions and concerns?

1/10/07 UPDATE:
Yesterday, we contacted a high ranking school official to ask if emails sent to BOE members “” are previewed by anyone at the district before the members see them. Our source has no knowledge of this being a practice and said there is no evidence that emails are previewed by anyone prior to board members reading them. S/he confirmed that the school email system does not prompt board members when emails arrive and that each one must remember to regularly check the system for emails from a home or other computer.