confusion, obfuscation and foggy transparency in the minutes

Curious thing about effective leaders – they share information! Openly! They document the actions taken. Accurately!documentation

“What are Meeting Minutes?

“Minutes of Meeting describe specify what was discussed and decided in a meeting, providing a permanent record of the meeting for future reference. They tend to include an overview of the structure of the meeting, including.

  • Those present and those who could not attend
  • A list of the agenda items/topics
  • Summary of discussion for each agenda item
  • The actions people committed to
  • Summary of any decisions made

“Meeting Minutes, are generally distributed shortly after the meeting ends and are confirmed as accurate at the start of the next meeting. –

We find the leadership at Columbia’s school board has not been real good at these actions.

We could find not much at the District’s listing of minutes about board resignations and subsequent appointments. According to Pennsylvania’s School Laws, “Vacancies caused by resignation, death, moving out of the district or region, etc., are filled by an appointment process conducted by the remaining board members.”

Fran Resch recently resigned his position on the school; Columbia Spy included this article about Resch’s resignation. Note that the primary reason for his resignation is not what was released to and appeared in an article at LNP – Always Lancaster super-secret “insider news.”

We were unsuccessful finding news of the resignation at any of the minutes posted.

resignation reason

Today, however, is the day “The (Columbia Borough School District board of directors) voted unanimously to accept his resignation, effective July 18.” This vote was announced at the June board meeting (according to the Lancaster Online insider news), which has yet not been posted at either of the School Board’s Websites. Yep, another surprise, when googling “Columbia Borough School District.”

Added confusion: Two Websites? This one ( and this one (

confusion continues

What we did find while reading the minutes, though, includes:

  • “Approval to appoint Laura Cowburn as additional help to assist the Business Office with the State and Federal Programs Audit at a stipend of $6,000.00 ($60.00 per hour – not to exceed 100 hours) until June 30, 2016 or the close of the audit.”
  • “Approval to nominate current board member, Leo Lutz, fill the new three-year Intermediate Unit Board membership that will expire in June 2019.” Interestingly, too, Lutz attended an IU-13 meeting on December 9, 2015 as a “school districts appointing their new representative to the IU13 Board of Directors.”
  • We’d heard about an incident at the Camp Hill – Columbia basketball game earlier this year. Is this item in the minutes related to that incident?  “The Board was addressed by Mr. Seth Sheckard, 45 S. 8th Street and Mr. David Farley, 547 Union Street, who both voiced concerns involving students.”


Here’s our tabulation of School Board Meetings and directors’ attendance for the past year.


  1. It is nice to see this info. It is a shame we don’t have the old Columbia News daily paper that would follow school board and council meetings and we would have info in day after meeting. LNP reports whenever, unless it is bad and then they are right on it. Keep up the good work on this site.

  2. Appreciate the comment. One thing that may evolve from the consolidated initiative of sharing a superintendent may be more transparency.

    For instance, here is the link to Eastern Lancaster County School District’s Website:

    We particularly like that the meetings there are also recorded and a link to the recorded meetings is shown, too, at MEETING AUDIO MINUTES.

    Here’s the link to the June 13 Committee of the Whole audio version of the minutes; at the 17:25 point begins the discussion about the schools’ consolidation / sharing of services begins:

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