In a move to help foster better dialogue between the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board of education and the community, Superintendent Scott Thompson on Wednesday announced the formation of a new public relations committee.
The move comes after controversy in the community over the way the board handled approval of an unusually long 10-year teachers union contract. No board members were on the negotiating committee, and approval was based on a summary, with the contract itself not released until weeks later when final wording was worked out.
The committee will include board members Jessica Morrison and Zubair Khan, and will be modeled after Barrington Area Unit School District 220's public relations committee.
Members of the District 15 committee are meeting with Jeff Arnett, chief communications officer for District 220, who formerly served as director of education and public programs with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
"We could learn a lot from him," Morrison said.
She said she heard about the PR committee and decided to join because her background as an attorney has made her passionate about communication.
Morrison said members of the Palatine community are concerned about decisions being made, but board meetings are "not the time or place" to explain the reasons behind those decisions.
"We want to do a better job of getting those reasons out there," Morrison said. "We want there to be more interaction. We want it to be a two-way street."
She said her goal is to give the people who live in District 15 a better understanding of how the board makes its decisions.
Morrison said the committee will spend the summer preparing to begin working during the upcoming school year.