Eden Prairie Schools (EPS) families and community stakeholders are strongly encouraged to attend the upcoming school board meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24. EPS board chair Adam Seidel said, “If people tune into one meeting a year, the October meeting is a big one.”
The meeting is also the last chance before the Nov. 8 election for local voters to attend and offer public comment at an EPS board meeting.
Seidel described the October meeting as “our most holistic, in-depth look at all of our top goals in the district. It’s when we do our most important work, which is monitoring the ends policies,” which are “the board’s top policies and our highest reflection of the goals for the district.”
Ends policies “include things like moving toward each student reading at grade level by the end of third grade, our 4Cs (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication) work, and being ready for students to enter a 21st century economy,” he added.
The ends policies being discussed at the upcoming meeting were set in June 2021. Seidel said, “Hoping there would be no COVID implications, we set ourselves very aggressive goals. We’ll get a chance now to look at achievement in Eden Prairie and how that compares with other places.”
The board will also examine the annual enrollment report, which has major financial implications for the district. “Despite continuing to have a downward demographic trend in terms of the number of students in Eden Prairie, we are at a 10-year high in actual enrollment,” Seidel said, citing a high local capture rate and strong open enrollment from other districts.
Sustainability will also be discussed, including the district’s use of solar panels, and an update on federal grants for electric vehicle (EV) buses.
One topic that will not be discussed, according to Seidel, is the recent public safety incident at Eden Prairie High School. He said this will be discussed next month in a closed session, which means the public cannot attend.
The referendum will also not be discussed, but voters can learn more about it here and at the district’s next virtual town hall on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Public comment is welcome
School board meetings are a chance to make your voice heard. Eden Prairie parents, students, and community members are invited to make public comments at the start of each meeting.
Speakers may choose any topic relevant to EPS that doesn’t violate board guidelines. However, plan your words wisely—comments are limited to three minutes each.
You’ll need to submit a comment card before the meeting, which includes your name, address, relationship to the district and topic. You can print one at home, or plan to arrive at least 10 minutes before the meeting starts to fill one out.
For first-timers to board meetings, don’t expect a response or reaction to your public comment. The board is not permitted to respond, and except for these public comments, the board and their invited speakers are the only ones who can talk at meetings.
However, public comment is still an excellent way to make your views known to the community, and can spark larger discussion and potential change going forward.
If you’re unable to attend school board meetings or don’t want to make a public comment, but would like to ask questions or share your views with the board, you can email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: if you recently tried to email the school board and your message bounced back, that technical difficulty has now been fixed.
Why should I attend?
Attending school board meetings is an important community responsibility. It helps residents understand the ins and outs of the public schools, including how district policy is set by the board and interpreted by the superintendent.
At meetings the board sets expectations for the district, reviews its progress and performance, and responds to activity and project updates.
School board members are accountable to the public as elected officials. Attending meetings regularly helps residents understand the work, effort, and ability needed to successfully run the school board.
It also helps to educate voters as they seek to choose the right candidates to fill these roles.
You can learn more about school board candidates for the upcoming election in EPLN’s election coverage. EPLN’s voter guide was mailed to Eden Prairie homes earlier this month and is also available online.
How can I attend?
The October 24 school board meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Administrative Services Center, 8100 School Road. You can also attend virtually. The Zoom link, as well as agenda and meeting materials, will be available on the school board section of EPS’ website by the day of the meeting.
You can view the Oct. 24 meeting agenda here.
School board meetings are held twice a month, on Mondays. Board workshops are the second Monday of each month, and regular business meetings are on the fourth Monday of each month. Meetings are always at 6 p.m., unless it says otherwise on the website.
All board meetings are open to the public, except for some that are specifically permitted by law to be “closed” for sensitive discussions.
If you can’t make it to a meeting, you can still watch it later, since meetings are video recorded. The most recent year’s worth of board meeting videos is always available online. Meeting minutes are also available online.
The most recent board meeting is replayed on local Public Access Channel 14 at the following times:
- Mondays at 8 a.m.
- Thursdays at 7 p.m.
- Fridays at 11 a.m.
- Saturdays at 2 p.m.
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