An effort by Tucson Unified School District board President Mark Stegeman to reform the beleaguered Mexican American Studies program is up for a vote Tuesday night at a special board meeting.
There is a great deal of interest in this issue and liberal and conservative blogs have been lit up over it the past week, each side trying to “rally the troops” for a showing of popular sentiment for or against the controversial program.
Considering public turnout at past meetings about this topic, none quite as important as this one, it’s likely several hundred people will attend the meeting.
The board’s meeting room at the district office, 1010 E. 10th St., seats at best 75 people.
The district would be wise to move the meeting to a larger venue, perhaps one of the district’s high school auditoriums.
There is still time to amend the agenda for tomorrow. State open meetings law requires 24 hours notice of meetings so the district has until 6:30 p.m. tonight to post a new agenda with a new location.
I’ve tried emailing the board clerk and operations staff asking if any such plan is in the works, but get a bounce back message that the district is closed for spring break through today. Same goes for a phone call, just a voice mail.
I’ve also sent a message to Stegeman.
There is ample precedent for moving a meeting such as this. The Tucson City Council does it all the time, moving to the TCC, and in the 1990s during teacher labor unrest and pygmy owl hooting and hollering in the Amphi school district the district moved board meetings to Amphi High School’s auditorium (and even that filled to capacity for one meeting and the fire marshal had to come and kick some people out).
The board and the district serve the public and the public has a great deal of interest in this issue. Hundreds of people should not be left crammed into the small lobby or left sweltering outside along 10th Street when they want to observe and participate through public comment periods in their government.
Treat the public with respect and move the meeting while you still can. The clock is ticking.