Posted by on May 5, 2020 12:44 am

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Categories: Coal Region Newswire Local News

It’s getting hard to lose the shock value of some of the stories coming out of Pottsville Area School District these days.

But on Monday evening, we think we officially heard the topper.

During former school board member Scott Thomas’ latest live stream from his new Facebook page, he revealed at least one of the numerous committees the board operates held meetings at Roma Pizza in Pottsville.

Thomas says the Buildings and Grounds Committee held public meetings at the popular downtown pizza shop.

Pottsville School Board Committee Meetings Held at Roma?

It’s got to be one of the crazier things we’ve heard in more than 20 years of following local politics. Short of holding a meeting in the proverbial smoke-filled back room, we can’t think of a worse place to hold a public meeting for elected officials.

OK, we can think of worse places … but seriously, Roma?

Just because the restaurant is open to the public doesn’t mean the public’s invited to the meetings. And not only that, having meetings where public money is being discussed and spending planned, is it appropriate to have meetings in a place where alcohol is being served or, at the very least, in a place where there’s the hustle and bustle naturally created by a busy restaurant?

Kinda distracting, don’t you think?

Thomas says these meetings happened during his time on the board but he wasn’t part of that committee. However, the chair of the committee holding these meetings, he says, was current school board president Noble Quandel.

We don’t know if these odd meeting locations are still being used for committee meetings or if they’ve graduated to the actual smoke-filled rooms.

That certainly seems to be where the solar panel scheme was hatched.

Committee Meetings Should Be Public, Too

Committee meetings may not get the headlines and often aren’t covered by the press but they are supposed to be public. And school boards, not just at Pottsville, are supposed to advertise the date, time, and location of these meetings in case the public or press does want to attend.

Recommendations from these meetings are typically brought to the full board’s attention at their next public meeting and the group of 9 school board members get a chance to vote recommendations up or down.

The only committee meeting currently on the Pottsville Area School District public schedule is the Athletics Committee. They’re set to meet on Thursday, May 7, at 6:30 … in the morning. Sigh … at least it’s advertised but you’ve really got to love school athletics politics to want to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to oversee what’s happening there.

Maybe they’ll cover the highlights on SportsCenter?

Transparency Issues Persist at Pottsville Area School District

For a board struggling with public trust and one with obvious transparency issues, you’d think they’d go out of their way to make proceedings public and at a date and time convenient to the general public.

There’s a time and place for everything and a school board meeting is not the time for garlic knots.

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