This policy proposes to go from 20 speakers to 10 with a maximum of 30 minutes for public comment. Regardless of whether this would be a good policy change long term, I question the timing of this change. There are other more subtle changes embedded in this policy change, so read it carefully and let your board members know what you think.
Public Participation in Board Meetings Descriptor Code: BCBI
The DeKalb County Board of Education encourages citizensthe public to be involved in public education. To facilitate this involvement, the Board will listen to citizen comments immediately following the call to order and prior to the adoption of the agenda for its regularly scheduled work sessions.sets aside time for public comments at each regular monthly Work Session or combined Work Session and Business Meeting. The public comment period is intended to allow speakers to address issues before the Board or other subjects pertinent to the Board or the
The following guidelines will be observed for receiving and hearing comments from citizens duringIn order to assure that persons who wish to appear before the Board may be heard and, at the same time, allow the Board to conduct its meetings in an orderly and efficient manner, the Board adopts the following guidelines for the public comment portion of the work sessions:its meetings:
1. The opportunity to provide public comment is limited to District parents, students, residents, employees, businesses, and organizations.
2. 1. The Board encourages individuals to contact the Superintendent, his administrative staff and/or local school administrators in an effort to secureBefore addressing the Board, individuals are urged to seek a satisfactory solution to any concerns prior to referral to the Board of Educationtheir concerns by following the proper staff and administrative channels.
2. All persons wishing to address the Board during the citizen comment portion of the work sessions will be given a copy of this policy.
3. To be eligible thoseIndividuals wishing to speak mustmay submit a request in writing to the board officeBoard Office via letter, fax, or e-mail a request to speak which must be received no later than 12:00 noon on the day of the Board Work Session or combined Work Session and Business Meeting. Such requestsrequest shall include information regarding the individual’s name, address, topic to be addressed and, previous steps taken to resolve the concern prior to making the request to speak. In addition, speakers may complete their own Request to Comment card in person between and on the day of the work session. Cards must be completely filled out. Speakers will be heard in the order they submit their requests. Each speaker addressing the Board shall have a maximum of three (3) minutes to speak., and the group (if any) that the individual is representing. If an individual is unable to attend the meeting after signing up in advance, he/she may appoint a substitute speaker by calling the Board Office by of the meeting day.
4. The public comment portion of the meeting will be a maximum of one (1) hour or 20 speakers.In addition, speakers may complete a Request to Comment card in person between and on the day of the meeting. Cards must be completely filled out, providing the information listed in the preceding paragraph.
5. It shall be out of order for any citizen to verbally and/or physically attack an employee of the school system in a public meeting.An organization may sign up to speak by designating a duly authorized spokesperson and one alternate, who may speak only if the primary spokesperson is unable to attend. By signing up and addressing the Board on behalf of an organization, the speaker is representing that he or she has been duly authorized by that organization to make the comments presented.
6. Speakers will be heard in the order in which they submit their requests. However, if more than ten speakers sign up, the Board may give priority to individuals who will be speaking about a specific agenda item.
7. Speakers shall have a maximum of three (3) minutes each and must stop speaking promptly when their time is up.
8. To allow time for the Board's other business, the public comment period will end after thirty (30) minutes, or when all speakers signing up to speak have been heard, whichever occurs first. At the Board’s discretion, the comment period may be extended for a specified amount of time or a specific number of additional speakers.
9. Speakers should begin their comments by stating their name, address, connection with the District, and the organization (if any) on whose behalf they are authorized to speak.
10. To allow the Board to receive input from as many stakeholders as possible, individuals who speak during the Public Comment period one month may only speak at the next month’s meeting if there are spaces remaining after all non-repeating speakers have signed up.
11. Speakers should be courteous and professional. Speakers may offer objective criticisms of school operations and programs, but the Board will not hear complaints about specific personnel or individuals connected with the District in a public session. Other channels provide a more appropriate forum for consideration and resolution of legitimate complaints involving individuals.
12. 6. TheIndividuals will not be denied the opportunity to address the Board on the basis of their viewpoint. However, the Board will not allow abusive language, threats, comments, jeers, applause, or shouts from the floor. Disruptive persons will be asked to leave the meeting room. The presiding officer may terminate public comments that are profane, vulgar, defamatory, or disruptive.
13. Speakers may not address confidential student or personnel matters, but may submit such concerns to the Superintendent in writing.
14. Speakers are encouraged to provide the Board with a written copy of their comments and other appropriate supporting documentation.
15. The Public Comment period is designed to gain input from the public and not for immediate responses by the Board. While the Board cannot assure each speaker of a specific or individualized response, the Board will consider the public comments and any supporting materials provided by speakers.