Jordan- Elbridge neighbors vented their frustrations at a Wednesday night training session on open meetings law.
State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood has ruled that the Jordan-Elbridge board violated New York's open meetings in the past. That ruling is still being appealed but the board agreed to bring in Robert Freeman, the executive director of the Committee on Open Government, and Jay Worona, the general counsel for the New York School Boards Association for a training session. Freeman said he wasn't familiar with the circumstances J-E had faced but hoped he could help the board and concerned neighbors understand the laws involved.
"I don't know details about the hostility that has been expressed in this school district but my hope of course is that knowledge of the law and when everybody hears the same question and the same answer at the same time it will encourage a little more peace," said Freeman.
Freeman and Worona took questions from neighbors and the board on everything from meeting agendas to tape recordings of board meetings and what records could be released under freedom of information act requests. Some neighbors said they felt the district was starting to regain their trust.
"It's a real encouragement to me as a community member to see this board operating like it is, and I think things are going forward," said J-E resident Jan Richardson.
The J-E board had been ordered by Judge Greenwood to complete a training session in open meetings law though the board could have waited to schedule it until an appeal was heard. Board president Brian Richardson said he felt the session was the right thing to do for the board and for concerned parents.
"We've made some great strides recently I feel and we want to make sure we keep moving in the right direction," said Richardson.
Freeman wasn't able to answer questions about issues specific to Jordan-Elbridge but hoped he gave people the principles to apply when other concerns came up.