In two separate votes, the Perkiomen Valley School Board approved adding an additional board seat (from three to four) to the finance and policy committees and to include a public comments section during the committee meetings.
The additional board member was approved in a 6-2 vote, and the public comments portion was approved by a unanimous vote from the present board members. Capt. Sam Schweigert was absent.
At the discussion's onset, board President Lynn Bigelow asked Solicitor Brian Subers what the rules were for increasing board representation to four or five members on a committee. Subers replied that five board members creates a quorum, allowing them to vote on issues and mandating a public comments section.
The established rules state three board members can sit on a committee; any other board members are welcome to attend the meetings, but as a member of the public and not in an official capacity.
"I would like to be on the policy committee or at least make comments (during the meeting)," said board member Ann Mantey. "I'm OK without being on committee, but I want to comment."
Board member Randy Bennett argued that "There are times to speak (on policies during board meetings). It came up at this meeting. This (committee makeup) was decided at our December board meeting. We are taking time to talk about this as we discuss budget."
There are concerns for board members that don't regularly attend (committee meetings)," said board member Gerry Barnefiher. "It's not apparent what goes down," he said, adding that board members don't always know the research or reasoning that's involved in creating and recommending some policies.
When it came to increasing board seats, Vice President Lori Synder warned, "I think five board members making a recommenadtion and voting is a thin line. Five board members have already said 'yes.'"
A fourth seat was added to the finance committee and the policy committee. Barnefiher volunteered for the finance committee, and Mantey volunteered to serve on the policy committee.