Last night’s school district board meeting

Another school district has grabbed the headlines with it’s “You inspire me to come to work every day” video that shows teachers getting and giving hugs. Well done, Lancaster School District.

That happens in Columbia, too.


Last night’s school district board meeting has a filled house and there were “teacher hugs” for the Students of the Month. And verbal hugs for the students’ parents and family members who attended.

CHS Students of the Month: 

  • Paige Schmitt – Grade 12
  • Marcus Falcon – Grade 11
  • Rosalie Gilbert – Grade 10
  • Courtney McClair – Grade 9

MS Taylor/Hill Campus  Students of the Month:

  • Emma Grove – Grade 8
  • Kailey Floyd – Grade 7
  • Anya Abercrombie – Grade 6
  • Rory Bender – Grade 5

Park Elementary School Students Of The Month:

  • Chloe Shipley – Mrs. Strickler
  • Morgan Gamber – Ms. Irwin
  • Hayden Quinn – Mrs. Green
  • Chase Marley – Mrs. Moyer
  • Warner (Ricky) – Mrs. Moritz

At the meeting, Dr. Robert Hollister, superintedent, introduced Dr. Michael Smith and announced Dr. Smith will be a new principal with the Columbia School District. Dr. Smith comes from a similar position at Warwick School District.

A meeting participant wanted to make a comment near the close of the meeting, however the school board agenda has changed. Public comment on agenda and education items is now an “earlier agenda item.”

Public Comment on Agenda and Education Items

The Board recognizes the value of public comment by residents of the district on agenda items. Each resident of Columbia Borough wishing to address the Board will be limited to five (5) minutes to make their comments. After being recognized by the presiding officer, the speaker must preface their comments by an announcement of their name, address and group affiliation if appropriate. All comments shall be directed to the presiding officer. The presiding officer may interrupt or terminate a participant’s statement when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, obscene or irrelevant.


  1. This needs to change. Topics come up during meetings that can only be addressed after they are discussed. It is unfair to shut down a resident taxpayer and not allow comments.

    • Agree wholly; bring up the topic at the next meeting in the period allocated to “Public Comment on Agenda and Education Items.”

      Challenging arbitrary assignment of topics by those in control (at the moment) is a logical public comment in a representative democracy.

  2. If I understand it correctly, during the citizen comment section the board does not have to (or are not supposed to) answer questions.

    They have in fact done so, but if they are not required to do so how can the public get answers? Do all questions go to the administrator via emails or phone calls?

    I would like to know what programs (if any) have been implemented to address bullying since the last school board meeting in September. Excluding any set up by residents, only what measures or programs have been put in place by school officials.

  3. Concerned taxpayer – You’ve hit on a dilemma that surfaces when there’s a disconnect between elected public servants and a the constituents they’ve pledged to represent.

    This opening paragraph of a recent Harpers’ Magazine article from a recent email from a Columbia new, view & reviews reader:

    “All politicians love to complain about the press. They complain for good reasons and bad. They cry over frivolous slights and legitimate inquiries alike. They moan about bias. They talk to friendlies only. They manipulate reporters and squirm their way out of questions. And this all makes perfect sense, because politicians and the press are, or used to be, natural enemies.”

    Of course, the conundrum is broadened when “elected public servants” or politicians begin to think that they are above having to share information with shareholders and constituents. When they begin to think they know better and when they want to limit information or manipulate it to satisfy their separate goals.

    Our democratic principles and transparency are enhanced when information – positive and negative – is shared “before the fact” and in an open forum.

    Here’s an insightful piece on the double-edge of transparency in government, particularly our model of government:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s