After experimenting with night meetings the first half of this year, the school board has decided to make them permanent.
The board voted unanimously last week to adopt a hybrid schedule of meetings that keeps the old and adds a new twist. Members will continue to meet at 9 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month, but that will be for more routine business and administrative issues such as staff appointments, awarding of bids and budget transfers.
On the fourth Wednesday of each month in the school year, the board will meet at 6:30 p.m., usually in a school in a different part of the county each month. The night meetings will be August through November, and January through May.
In June, July and December, the school board will have only one meeting, the daytime session on the second Wednesday.
"I think there's no question how well the evening meetings were received and that they're necessary," said Superintendent Brian Lockard.
The schedule was proposed by member C. Scott Stone and approved by the four other members, although board President Ann M. Ballard was skeptical about the convenience of night meetings.
Mr. Stone said he advocated night meetings because more parents can attend them even if they don't do it on a regular basis.
But Ms. Ballard said the 6:30 p.m. time interferes with most families' dinner hours and that students often are booked in the evenings with their activities.
"You're going to see less attendance by students because of recreation, sports and work," she said.
Attendance appeared to be substantial at the night meetings this winter and spring. For February through May, the board met in a split agenda once a month, with the business meeting at 4 p.m. and the more parent-student oriented issues at 7 p.m.