Flint Township View

Brown to send letter to Whitmer asking for return to in-person meetings

DAVISON — Kevin Brown, superintendent of Davison Community Schools, said he will send a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asking the state to lift the order forcing public bodies to meet virtually instead of in-person.

The issue came up at the March 1 board of education meeting when Board Member Matthew Smith proposed having the board approve a resolution other communities have brought forth to ask the state to lift restrictions on public meetings.

“What’s bothering me right now is we are going back to face-to-face learning,” said Smith. “While we’re face-to-face, our teachers and staff are back to face-to-face, but the school board is still meeting virtually. It’s not that we’re hypocrites, but it looks hypocritical when kids are going to school face-to-face and we’re meeting on a Zoom call.”

Smith brought forth a resolution some communities around the state have already approved calling on Whitmer to allow face-to-face public meetings again, but Brown offered a different option to Smith and other board members.

Brown said no one disagrees with what Smith said, but he said he liked an idea Board member Eric Lieske proposed that he send a letter to the state voicing the board’s concerns.

“I’ll draft a letter send it on board’s behalf,” said Brown. “If we’re still not meeting face-to-face by April, then you can bring it as a resolution to the board.”

Board President Karen Conover said she understood and supported what Smith was saying but expressed doubt the governor would change her mind.

“You know I’m on your side when it comes to in-person meetings,” she said. “They’re not going to let school boards do this any sooner than any other gathering in the state.”

Smith said Davison schools have consistently set a tone that we, as a state, are going to get back to normal, adding he thinks it’s important for boards to meet in-person to allow elected officials to get together and discuss issues in-person.

“There’s a lot you can’t discuss over Zoom,” said Smith.

He said he’d support a letter as long as Davison schools is doing something as a board to be vocal – whether its a letter or resolution.

“We need to start being more vocal and yes, they probably won’t care and (Whitmer) probably won’t read it but it shows Davison is leading the fight back to normal and it starts at the top, and the top is the board of education.”

Tentatively, public meetings are set to resume late in March, unless that ruling is extended by the state.