In what was described as an effort to be more transparent, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board switched to an electronic voting system this week.
The votes will appear on a projector screen above and behind the board members’ seats beginning on Aug. 4, and will eventually be available on the School Board’s website during each meeting, board President Brett Duncan said.
In the meantime, the board took its first steps toward more transparency as members took a practice run on Tuesday at voting by laptop.
But things didn’t work out exactly as planned.
Because there was no projector screen behind the board, people attending the meeting were left in the dark as to how each member had voted. The board’s secretary would note after each vote whether the motion had carried, but there was no announced tally of yeas to nays.
The board silently approved two sets of board minutes and two committee reports, but when the time came to set the 2015 millage rates, the system’s chief financial officer asked for a roll-call vote instead. The voice vote — the only one of the night — was unanimous.
The board later unanimously clicked “yes” in approving the terminations of two support employees. The outcomes of those electronic votes, and each vote thereafter, were noted aloud by the board’s secretary.
Asked about the new voting system after Tuesday’s meeting, Duncan said in the future he would read aloud the results of each vote, until the projector is up and running. Tuesday’s agenda was light and uncontentious, providing a perfect time for practice, he said.
Advocate staff writer Heidi Kinchen contributed this report.