BDDH – PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AT BOARD MEETINGS
The School Board recognizes and respects the input which may be provided by the public on school district matters. The Board also recognizes and respects the distinction between a school board meeting and a public meeting.
At a school board meeting which is open to the public, members of the public may be present, observe and listen to the school board conduct its business and may speak during the school board meeting consistent with this policy.
At a public meeting/hearing there is usually one topic to be presented by the District and discussed. The public is given the opportunity to speak and be heard on the topic which is the reason for the public meeting. This type of meeting allows for public participation under the rules designed specifically for that meeting and is not subject to this policy.
Policy BDDH, Public Participation at Board meetings, applies only to topics addressed in open/public. Matters addressed in executive session pursuant to SDCL 1-25-2 are not open to the public.
Persons speaking during the Public Forum at a school board meeting shall not cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to the school board or any person, and shall not engage in threatening behavior, make unreasonable noise, be disruptive, boisterous, argumentative, or threatening, shall not make comments which are disrespectful to one or more persons, and shall not use profanity.
The time designated for Public Forum on the agenda shall be immediately before the adoption of the meeting agenda by the school board.
In order to assure that the Board may conduct its meetings in a respectful and efficient manner, the procedure for public participation at regularly scheduled monthly school board meetings is as follows:
1. Agenda and Non Agenda Items:
Before the meeting is called to order, an individual who desires to speak at a school board meeting must verbally or in writing inform the Superintendent, the Business Manager or the Board President of the person’s desire to speak and the topic upon which the person intends to speak. The requesting party must sign a form (prepared by the school district) with their name, address, email and topic to be addressed.
During the time designated for Public Forum the Board President will recognize the person who signed up to speak and the person may speak on the topic according to the rules set forth in this policy.
A speaker shall be granted 5 minutes to present comments to the school board.Upon receiving a request for an extension of time from the speaker, the school board, upon a motion being made and passed by a majority of school board members present and voting, may grant an additional amount of time not to exceed 5 minutes. Additional extensions may be granted only upon a two-thirds vote of school board members present and voting.
Should a number of persons wish to address the school board on the same agenda item, or should the comments become repetitious, the School Board President, in the President’s sole discretion, may shorten the time for comments to two minutes per person in order that persons wishing to address the school board may be heard and still allow the school board sufficient time to conduct its agenda business.
2. Adding an Item to the School Board Meeting Agenda in Order to Request Specific School Board Action:
Any person or delegation (with one person being the spokesperson for the delegation) making a specific request to the school board which would require formal action by the school board must present a written request to the Superintendent for the item to be placed on the school board meeting proposed agenda. The written request must be submitted to the Superintendent at least five calendar days before the school board meeting.
The specific request to add an item to the agenda shall clearly identity what is being requested and why, signed by the person making the request, and include the person’s name, address, email and telephone number.
The Superintendent will forward the request to the School Board President and the Board President will decide whether the item will be placed on the proposed agenda. Whether any item is to be addressed at the school board meeting is determined by a majority of school board members at the beginning of the school board meeting when the school board adopts the proposed agenda as printed or adopted after being modified.
If the item on the meeting agenda is adopted by the school board, the person or spokesperson for the delegation who has submitted the request for specific school board action will be granted 10 minutes to explain the request to the school board.Upon receiving a request for an extension of time from the speaker, the school board, upon a motion being made and passed by the majority of school board members present, may grant an additional amount of time not to exceed 5 minutes.Additional extensions may be granted only upon a two-thirds vote of school board members present and voting.
In the sole discretion of the school board, requests to the school board for specific action submitted after the proposed agenda has been posted may be:
deferred until the next regular meeting or a special school board meeting, or
added to the meeting agenda for discussion purposes only, or
added to the agenda for discussion and possible action.
3. Authority of Presiding Officer:
The Board vests in its presiding officer the authority to terminate the right of any person to speak at the end of the time granted pursuant to provision 1.d, provision 1.e. or provision 2.d. as set forth in this policy. The presiding officer may also terminate the right of a person to speak at a school board meeting should the person cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to the school board or any person, engage in threatening behavior, make unreasonable noise, disturb or be disruptive of an official school board meeting, or when comments are disrespectful to one or more persons, boisterous, argumentative, threatening, or contain profanity. If deemed necessary by the presiding officer, the presiding officer may contact local law enforcement to have a person removed from the school board meeting as it is a violation of law for a person to intentionally cause or create a risk of serious public inconvenience, annoyance, alarm or disturbance at a school board meeting.
(1) ASBSD recommends that during the board meeting and prior to adoption of the agenda members of the public be given an opportunity to speak on matters both which are on the posted proposed agenda and also on matters which are not on the posted proposed agenda. If the topic is not on the proposed agenda, the school board could (but would not be required to) add the topic to the agenda when the Board adopts the final meeting agenda.
As an alternative to allowing people to speak on an agenda topic during Public Forum, the Board may want to consider allowing people to speak on that topic when it is before the school board for discussion and possible action; however, if allowed, the Board should take into consideration that it may be difficult to limit public comments when the school board is discussing that topic.
(2) See Policy Alert dated May 25, 2018 related to a board resolution which makes policy BDDH applicable to the ‘public participation at board meetings’ requirement found in SDCL 1-25-1.