KATY (FOX 26)
The decision to stop recording a monthly Katy school board meeting was just to get a reaction from the public. That's what school board President Charles Griffin said Monday night, perhaps trying to tidy up a messy controversy at the school district.
At Monday's work study meeting he got quite a bit of reaction from members of the school board.
"I must say I was very disappointed to learn that that practice was discontinued without having any input or knowledge of the board," said board Treasurer, Rebecca Fox. "I was a bit surprised by it."
"I was surprised as well," said board Vice President Henry Dibrell. "I was at a social gathering when someone came up to me and asked me about it, and I was like, what are you talking about?"
And so it went for Katy ISD Trustees, indicating their trust in board President, Charles Griffin, had been shaken.
Griffin decided in January to stop recording the board's work study meetings, and it looked very suspicious.
"In January we also made a policy change which was to move the open forum to this meeting," said board member Brian Michalsky. "I don't think it's too much of a stretch that a reasonable person could conclude there was some conspiracy there."
The district could have been trying to prevent another Jordan Wooley event. The 7th grader notified the board during an open forum session that a teacher challenged her faith in God. The district's recording helped illustrate what became a national controversy.
But Monday night, board members made it clear they want the district to record all public meetings.
"Nobody in there knew that that work study was not going to be recorded," said Griffin about the January Work Study meeting, falling on the sword, so to speak, taking the blame away from other board members.
During a rare question and answer session with Griffin after the meeting, Griffin said he didn't know the district originally attributed the decision to the entire school board. The district's story changed only after the controversy had festered more than a week. Also, what was initially presented as a permanent change, was now said to be temporary until a new policy was established.
Griffin says that part was intentional.
"Do you know how much more feedback I got from this?" he said, when asked why it wasn't presented as a temporary change. "Do you know how much more passionate I got board members over something to have this discussion?"
This reporter asked him if that was a trick.
"No, it wasn't a trick," Griffin said, "but it was intended to see if our board members truly want transparency."
George Scott, who is now campaigning to become a Katy ISD Trustee, says this strange explanation is simply damage control.
"Shakespeare covered it. 'What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,'" Scott said in an interview with Fox26. "They created a mess for themselves and they're trying to get out of it by making nonsense."
No new policy has been adopted by Katy ISD, but the recording of work study meetings will resume.