Public Participation in Board Meetings
The following excerpt from Policy 006, Section 7 (adopted September 19, 2005) outlines the procedure for participation from the public at School Board meetings.
Section 7. Hearing of the Public
The Board recognizes the value to school governance of public comment on educational issues and the importance of involving members of the public in Board meetings. The Board also recognizes its responsibility for proper governance of the district and the need to conduct its business in an orderly and efficient manner.
The Board shall establish guidelines to govern public participation in Board meetings necessary to conduct its meeting and to maintain order.
In order to permit fair and orderly expressing of public comment, the Board shall provide an opportunity at each open meeting of the Board for residents and taxpayers to comment on matters of concern, official action or deliberation before the Board prior to official action by the Board.
The purpose of hearing from citizens is to provide input to the decisionmaking process of the entire Board. Therefore, it shall not be the practice of the Board for individual members to respond to questions posed from the floor. Should a response be required to a procedural or other question, that response shall be given by the presiding officer. Should another Board member or the Superintendent wish to respond to a comment made by a citizen, that Board member or the Superintendent shall do so only with the permission of the presiding officer.
Public participation shall be permitted only as indicated on the order of business and at the discretion of the presiding officer on a given issue. After visitors have been heard and the Board has begun deliberations, no comments or questions shall be permitted from the floor.
There will be a period of up to thirty (30) minutes set aside for public participation. If the Board determines there is not sufficient time at a meeting for public comments, the comment period may be deferred to the next regular meeting or to a special meeting occurring before the next regular meeting.
The presiding officer at each public Board meeting shall follow Board policy for the conduct of public meetings. Where his/her ruling is disputed, it may be overruled by a majority of those Board members present and voting.
Whenever issues identified by the participant are subject to remediation under policies and procedures of the Board, they shall be dealt with in accordance with those policies and procedures and the organizational structure of the district.
Personnel items will not be addressed at a public Board meeting, but will be referred to Executive Session or processed through the administrative staff.
Presentations for unsolicited services at public Board meeetings will not be permitted. Companies or businesses offering services of possible interest to the district should send information to the district office for distribution to appropriate school district officials or Board committees.
The Board requires that public participants be residents or taxpayers of this district or anyone representing a group in the community or school district, any representative of a firm eligible to bid on materials or services solicited by the Board, any district employee, or any district student.
All persons wishing to participate in a public Board meeting shall register their intent with the Board Secretary seven (7) days prior to the day of the public meeting and include the name and address of the participant; group affiliation, if appropriate; topic; and a list of questions to be raised. If the person is not on the agenda, then the person wishing to be heard by the Board should complete a visitor attendance card on the night of the meeting and speak during the Visitors Recognition of the Board agenda. The presiding officer will determine what action to take following receipt of the card.
Participants must be recognized by the presiding officer and must preface their comments by an announcement of their name, address, and group affiliation, if applicable. Participants who appeared officially, meaning by proper registration with the Board Secretary or by completing the attendance card, will be recorded in the minutes by name and the subject of their testimony.
In an effort for all to be heard, comments will be limited to five (5) minutes per individual, and will be monitored by the Board Secretary. During special public hearings or meetings where many people wish to comment, the presiding officer shall determine the maximum length of time each person may speak.
No participant may speak more than once on the same topic unless all others who wish to speak on that topic have been heard.
All statements shall be directed to the presiding officer; no participant may address or question Board members individually.
The presiding officer may:
- Interrupt or terminate a participant's statement when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, obscene, or irrelevant.
- Request any individual to leave the meeting when that person does not observe reasonable decorum.
- Request the assistance of law enforcement officers to remove a disorderly person when his/her conduct interferes with the orderly progress of the meeting.
- Call a recess or adjourn to another time when the lack of public decorum interferes with the orderly conduct of the meeting.
- Waive these rules with the approval of the Board.
Electronic recording devices and cameras, in addition to those used as official recording devices, shall be permitted at public meetings under guidelines established by the Board.
No placards or banners will be permitted within the meeting room.
The meeting agenda and all pertinent documents shall be made available to the public at all special and regular meetings. The news media shall be provided a copy of the agenda and a copy of the attachments to the agenda, as provided to each Board member, less any confidential material.