Round Rock ISD school board meetings are too damn long! — This was the focus of a discussion that I had with other community members early in 2023, which led me to start tracking the amount of time that is attributable to individual Round Rock ISD trustees. For the meeting following that conversation, I threw together a quick app for tracking their time and worked out some kinks. Shortly after the meetings in April, I created this report and published it on this site.

What did the report show? It showed what we all already knew — An overwhelming majority of the time attributable to Trustees in meetings was attributable to two Trustees as seen in the chart below.

April Meeting Time Report

I have continued tracking the time for every meeting since April (tracking data coming soon). Meeting after meeting, it’s the same outcome — a couple of Trustees spend their time grandstanding about themselves or going on long-winded tirades about issues that we’ve heard them talk about over and over again. Even with time limits set by the board to try to move conversations along, two Trustees dominate the amount of time spent on certain topics in meetings.

Fast forward to the September 21, 2023 meeting. After getting through the pledges, student & staff recognition, and public comments, Trustee Weir made a motion to limit time to 45 seconds per question and 2 minutes for a closing statement on each topic. As expected, Trustees Bone & Weston took issue with this motion. Trustee Bone went on a 5+ minute rant against the motion, claiming that her colleagues don’t take agenda items seriously, grandstanding about her experience doing “real business,” and complaining that her 1st amendment rights were being violated as seen in the video below.

Trustee Bone’s long-winded rant was an excellent illustration of why time limits are needed. Let’s go over the arguments that she gave against time limits…

  1. Her colleagues don’t take things seriously. The other Trustees do a great job of getting the information that they need to make decisions by asking succinct questions without grandstanding or ranting about the same topics over and over again. That doesn’t mean that they’re not serious, it means that they are prepared and focused.
  2. Real business doesn’t have time limits. Admittedly I have never been in meetings for NASA or any of the other organizations that Trustee Bone grandstands about, but I have been in plenty of business meetings and I’ve never been in a business meeting that was open-ended. I have also never seen any single participant allowed to speak ad nauseam in a business meeting.
  3. Only she and Trustee Weston asked questions prior to the meeting. So what? I personally went into this meeting with a ton of knowledge about the agenda topics because I did my homework. If I were a Trustee, I would have no qualms about voting with the amount of knowledge that I had going into this meeting, and as community members, we’re not privy to having a wealth of information provided to us 10 days before the meeting. Admittedly, there are meetings that do have more complicated topics that Trustees should be asking a lot of questions about. This was not one of those meetings.
  4. Since she didn’t see any questions from anyone else, there must be some “walking quorums” happening. My take on this is that she’s suspicious of her colleagues because she’s probably guilty of some shady stuff, herself. For example — There have been multiple times when fans of her and Weston have had information that the public had no way of knowing without someone leaking it to them
  5. If other Trustees don’t want to spend a lot of time on questions, they don’t have to ask questions. The problem with this is that some Trustees probably aren’t speaking up or asking questions because Trustees Bone & Weston take up so much time that nobody else wants to draw out the meetings any longer. There are likely great questions not getting asked because those two dominate the time spent in meetings.
  6. Something, something, 1st amendment. Her rant about the 1st amendment would be amusing if it wasn’t so infuriating. Go try to comment on her Facebook page. You can’t, because she has comments disabled (not a 1st amendment violation, but neither is limiting time in a public meeting).

After Trustee Bone’s rant, the board voted to approve Trustee Weir’s motion. Even still, Trustees Bone & Weston ended up accounting for ~2h 20m during the meeting, while the other 5 Trustees account for 1h 30m combined. It was clear that both Trustee Bone & Weston walked into the board room that night with the intention of voting against using excess bond money from the 2018 bond to fund a badly needed building for Early College High School. They spent nearly 2 hours trying to make a case against it, while ECHS Students, staff, and community members stayed late into the night for the vote. At one point, the board voted to allow Trustee Weston to give her statement against the ECHS building without time limits. Her statement took 8 minutes. If every Trustee gave an 8-minute statement, it would take nearly an hour for statements on a topic. The meeting ended at 1:23 AM with several agenda items being punted to the next regular board meeting in October.