Speak at a Board Meeting
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EXCERPT FROM SCHOOL BOARD POLICY 1100A
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12. There shall be three opportunities for the public to address The School Board during any given meeting: public speakers, public hearings and agenda items.
The time limit for these presentations shall be three minutes for each speaker.
13. Public speakers – there shall be reserved on each Regular agenda a time for public speakers. This section of the agenda shall provide an opportunity for any member of the public to reserve time to address The School Board regarding matters of relevance to public education.
Persons desiring to make a presentation as a public speaker shall contact the Superintendent’s office at least five (5) days prior to the Board meeting. This will enable the school district to place the public speaker and her/his topic on the Board agenda and conduct an administrative review of the topic in advance of the meeting. Those persons who have not contacted the Superintendent at least five (5) days in advance but who wish to address the Board on topics pertaining to the school district may be heard at the end of the School Board meeting at the discretion of The School Board Chair. No action shall be taken on a speaker’s topic unless otherwise indicated on the agenda.
14. Public Hearings – In accordance with general law, The School Board is required to conduct a public hearing before voting on certain agenda items. When such agenda items are brought to the table during a meeting, the public shall be given an opportunity to address them before a vote is taken. The general rules set forth in this policy for public comment shall apply to public hearings including, but not limited to, the three minute time limit per speaker. Additional rules may be applied and if so, such rules shall be reviewed prior to speakers being called forward.
15. Agenda items – Public comment shall be entertained by The School Board with regard to agenda items on any Regular or Special Meeting or Workshop agenda. In order to address items on the consent portion of a Regular Meeting agenda, a member of the public may simply ask to address the Board prior to the vote being taken on the consent agenda or they may request that such item be pulled and placed on the open agenda when the Chair is entertaining pulls from the consent agenda.
16. A speaker may request that they be permitted to yield their time to a designated speaker. Speakers must be present at the meeting at the time of the request to yield their time. The yielded time will be pooled for a maximum of six minutes for the designated speaker. Speakers may not split their time and only yield a portion of it to a designated speaker.
17. The Chair shall request that each member of the public addressing the Board to first state his/her name and address for the record.
18. District committee reports will be placed on the agenda at an appropriate time, prior to the public speakers. In the event the speaker is not available to give a morning report, they shall register with the chair to give the report after lunch. Committee Chairs may give reports via media technology under extraordinary circumstance. The committee representative giving the report shall limit his/her remarks to the official position of the committee as set forth in the report and shall be limited to five (5) minutes in duration unless extended at the Chair’s discretion. The representative shall refrain from making any personal observations / comments during this time. Any such personal remarks would have to be made by the speaker during an opportunity for public comment.
19. Speakers’ remarks should be directed to the presiding officer or the Board as whole and not to individual Board members, otherwise the speaker may be ruled out of order, and asked to yield the podium. Board Members will not engage in dialogue with speakers.
20. Speakers may not refuse to yield the podium when the Chair has advised that their time has expired.
21. The Chair may notify and warn speakers that their comments have gone beyond the subject matter for which they had signed up to address, address matters that are not related to the business of The School Board, or otherwise violate this policy. Speakers are advised to refrain from obscene or vulgar conduct, or slanderous remarks, or statements that tend to incite violence or the breach of the peace.
22. The Chair may turn off the microphone or recess the meeting if any person persists in interfering with the expeditious or orderly process of the meeting, or fails to conform their remarks to the requirements of this policy, after being duly warned to do so. Alternatively, after a warning, the Chair will have the speaker or audience member removed from the meeting, and barred from further appearance before the Board for the balance of the meeting.
23. No heckling, shouting comments from the audience, verbal outbursts or any other disruptive behavior shall be permitted. No signs or placards shall be allowed in the Board meeting. Persons exiting the Board meeting shall do so quietly.
24. Personal cellular telephone conversations while in the room where the Board meeting is being conducted are not permitted. Such conversations are permitted only during meeting breaks or recess. Ringers or any portable electronic device must be set to silent mode to avoid disruption of the proceedings. All individuals must exit the meeting room to answer incoming cell phone calls.