SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee of the Saratoga Springs City School District has picked four new community members to join the board, while parents’ concerns about the committee are still not being addressed.
In an email sent out to members of the district, and at the Nov. 22 DEI Committee meeting, the names of the four individuals picked to join the committee were announced. Over 60 parent/community member interest forms were received, but applicants heard nothing about the progress of their applications until the announcement.
Amy, a parent who applied for the DEI Committee confirmed that after submitting her interest form, she received no further correspondence from the committee regarding her application status.
“The committee is not being transparent,” said Amy.
The first element from the NYSED DEI Framework, which the Saratoga Springs City School District had adopted, is governance – “Establish a district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that is representative of all stakeholders.”
Brian, a conservative parent from a minority family, applied for the DEI Committee and was not selected. He can attest that this governance element is not closely followed.
“The committee is not representative of the conservative district members,” said Brian.
Michael, another minority parent who is conservative, also submitted an application. He expressed similar concerns to Brian’s.
“There is not an equal an opportunity for a diversity of races to be on the committee,” said Michael.
According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Patton, “A subcommittee (student, staff member, two community members, and two building administrators) volunteered to review the interest forms to select four new members. This subcommittee reviewed each individual’s response of why they were interested in serving on the committee and their personal or professional experiences that will assist the work of the committee.”
Although Amy added that from a parent’s perspective, “there is no real mission statement.”
Board of Education (BOE) President Anjeannette Emeka added that the board trustees on the committee serve by invitation, just like any other stakeholder.
Parents in the SSCSD have real concerns about DEI/CRT, as do countless other parents across the country. All DEI Committee meetings are available to the public and can be watched via WebEx; meeting links can be found on the events calendar on the district’s website: www.saratogaschools.org. At the BOE Workshop on Oct. 26, Dr. Patton announced the possibility of an open forum with community members to address their concerns about the DEI policies, but no further information has been posted.