Policy BEDH: Public Participation at Committee Meetings

All regular and special meetings of the School Committee will be opento the public. These meetings are business meetings held in publicsession. Executive sessions will be held as necessary and as prescribedby state law. (See also Policy BEC .)
The School Committee welcomes residents of the District and visitors toattend its meetings so that they may become better acquainted with theoperations and the programs of its local public schools. In addition,the Committee appreciates the opportunity to hear the wishes and ideasof the public on issues of School Committee business.
If a resident or other individual would like to comment to the SchoolCommittee, he/she may do so by mail or email at any time. Comments maybe sent to the chair, to an individual member, or to the entirecommittee. Mail and email sent to School Committee members in their roleas School Committee members are considered to be public documents.

Public Comment

During a business meeting, residents and visitors may be recognizedto address the Committee during the time designated for Public Comment,normally scheduled near the beginning of the meeting. In order that manyindividuals who wish to be heard before the Committee have such achance and to insure the ability of the Committee to conduct thedistrict’s business in an orderly manner, the following rules andprocedures are adopted:

  • At each regularly scheduled School Committee meeting, individuals or group representatives will be invited to address the Committee. Public Comment normally will be for a period no longer than 15 minutes. The length of the Public Comment segment will be determined by the Chair.
  • An Individual wishing to address the Committee should raise his/her hand. Speakers must be recognized by the Chair and must identify themselves and the topic they plan to address. Speakers generally will be allowed a maximum of three (3) minutes to speak. The Chair may permit extension of this time limit.
  • Improper conduct and remarks will not be allowed. Defamatory or abusive remarks are always out of order. If such behavior is exhibited, the Chair may terminate that individual’s privilege to address the Committee. If a person persists in disorderly behavior, the person may be asked to withdraw from the meeting or may be removed from the meeting.
  • All remarks will be addressed to the Chair.
  • Public Comment is not a discussion, debate, or dialogue between residents and the Committee. It is an opportunity to express one’s opinion on issues of School Committee business.
  • Speakers may offer comments and opinions about the school operations and programs that concern them, but in public session the Committee will not hear personal complaints about school personnel nor against any member of the school community, either by name or by reference to position. Under most circumstances, administrative channels are the proper means for disposition of legitimate complaints involving staff members.
  • If an issue could be resolved by directing an individual to an appropriate staff member, the Superintendent or Chair may advise the individual of appropriate steps to take.
  • Written comments may be presented to the Committee before or after the meeting for the Committee members’ review and consideration at an appropriate time.
  • A group of residents appearing at a meeting to express favor or opposition to a particular item should designate one member of the group as a spokesperson to be heard on the topic. Other members of the group may also be heard if they feel they can offer additional information on the topic.
  • If questions or inquiries can be answered briefly based on available information the Committee Chair or Superintendent may respond at that time, however, the Chair may request that the question be put in writing to the appropriate person so that the matter is given the proper consideration.
  • Public Participation During Agenda Items 

    During a business meeting, residents and visitors may be recognizedto address the Committee about particular items on the agenda, at thediscretion of the Chair. The School Committee members will discuss theagenda item before any public comments are taken.

    Public Hearings

    If the School Committee believes that an issue requires a broaderdialogue with the community, the Committee may schedule a separatepublic hearing on that issue. (See also Policy BEE .)

    Printed copies of these rules and procedures for public participationwill be available at School Committee meetings. In the event that aprinted copy is unavailable, the Chair will explain the rules foraddressing the Committee.

    LEGAL REF:

    MGL 30A:18 , 30A:20, 30A:21, 30A:22 , 30A:23

    CROSS REF:

    Policy BEC
    Policy BEE
     

    Region Voted to Approve: 12/2/08
    Amherst Voted to Approve: 12/2/08
    Pelham Voted to Approve: 12/4/08
    Effective Date: 12/4/08