Changes to Public Comment Procedure at Board Meetings

January 2, 2019

In an ongoing effort to improve the functionality of the Board of Education, we will be introducing changes to the procedure for public comments during Board meetings. We strongly believe in the importance of public input at Board meetings, and the proposed changes are focused on improving the public’s ability to address the Board with questions and comments. These changes are also intended to improve the Board’s ability to effectively address the public's questions and concerns.

As a reminder, Board of Education meetings are meetings of the school district’s governing body that occur in public (as opposed to public meetings). The primary purpose of these meetings is for Board members and school leaders to address matters of district business outlined in each agenda. The Board also values the opinions and views of those with an interest in the business of the school district. However, public comments are welcomed only during designated times and should follow the established procedure to help ensure an orderly and efficient meeting.

The guidelines for public comments during Board meetings are as follows (Policy #1510):

  • The Board President will open a public comment period as noted in the meeting agenda. Typically, there are two comment periods during each meeting:
    • The first occurs at the beginning of the meeting when the public is invited to comment on that meeting’s agenda.
    • The second comment period welcomes the public to address the Board with questions, comments, etc. that may or may not be related to that meeting’s agenda. This occurs near the end of the meeting after the Board finishes conducting the business in the agenda.
  • Attendees wishing to speak during the public comment periods must identify themselves, any organization or party whom they are representing at the meeting, and the topic(s) they wish to address.
  • To ensure an orderly and efficient meeting, the remarks of speakers during the public comment portions of the Board meeting shall be kept as brief as possible and shall relate only to school matters.
  • If necessary, for the orderly and efficient conduct of the meeting, the Board may establish time limits on the remarks of those who wish to speak.

Outlined below are the changes to the public comment procedure that will take effect at the next Board meeting (Thursday, January 16, 2020):

  • Once the public comment period begins, attendees wishing to speak will be required to approach the Board and speak from a designated speaking podium. Public comments will not be accepted from an individual’s seat.
  • For timing and efficiency purposes, public comment periods are not a means for open dialogue with the Board, but are to be used for directing opinions, views, questions and concerns to the Board. The Board will listen to comments and input from the public but will not necessarily discuss or debate items at that point in time. If a response from the Board is necessary, it will be addressed at a future meeting or in a written public statement issued by the Board later.
  • The Board may limit repetitive comments in order to allow time for others wishing to speak as well as to maintain meeting efficiency.

Our goal is to enhance the overall effectiveness of the Cairo-Durham CSD Board of Education and its meetings. By adjusting the procedure for public comments at Board meetings, we believe the Board will be better positioned to properly address questions and concerns from the community. We appreciate your understanding of these changes and look forward to many productive Board meetings ahead.