Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Public Participation - on the way back?

At last night's school board meeting (June 30, 2020) Trustee Agostini mentioned that she had requested the Board Chair, James Manning, to add an agenda item to address rescinding the suspension of Board Policy BEDH - Public Participation at Meetings.

Although it has never officially been notated as suspended, the Board did eliminate Public Participation at Meetings on May 12, 2020. Before the board voted, Amelia McKie said it was temporary. No, it wasn't.

The Motion was not worded as temporary, and the Chair should have corrected her. But he didn't. And it wasn't. The Board voted to suspend BEDH. That eliminated the public's speaking at meeting. And it eliminated the public's opportunity to request items to be added to an agenda.

Last night Agostini said she had requested this topic to be added to to the agenda, and her request was denied. Mr. Manning acknowledged that he had decided not to include that item.

Later in the meeting, when it came time to approve the agenda for the next meeting, the Motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda. Then Mrs. Agostini made a secondary motion - to add the rescinding of BEDH to the agenda. The staff secretary worded it as "unsuspend" the policy (BEDH).

The secondary motion passed, and then the primary motion was voted on and passed.

At the July 28, 2020 board meeting the board will discuss this item. Of course, the public will not get a chance to give input before the board votes.

THEREFORE, the public (that's You) should call your favorite board member(s) and ask them to vote in favor of "unsuspending" (rescinding) the suspension of Board Policy BEDH.

When you call, give them your reason(s). And ASK them how they will vote. Then check up on them after the meeting and learn how they, in fact, did vote.

If Zoom meetings continue, it is simple for the Board to hear from the public. All any speaker has to do is email the District (contact to be provided later) and request to be added as a speaker. Then log onto Zoom and into the meeting. The District's meeting controller will call on you when it's your turn, and you'll bet your three minutes.

The Alexandria (Va.) City Council held a contentious meeting on a Saturday, and there were many public speakers. And it went like clockwork. The mayor announced the name of the next speaker and said, "followed by (name), (name) and (name)". Speakers nailed it on three minutes. The mayor thanked the speaker and introduced the next speaker "followed by (three names)". This meant the following speakers were queued and ready to speak.

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