Policy 1005: Public Participation At Board Meetings
The Board of Education believes that it is the responsibility of the Chappaqua Central School District to provide opportunities for the public to observe Board deliberations and discussions at Board meetings and for the Board to listen to comments, concerns and questions from the public. The Board believes that open dialogue relating to education is essential to creating a community for learning. To encourage participation, support effective decision making and the principles of freedom of speech, the Board recognizes a need to conduct all public business openly and with civility. To provide an environment that is welcoming to diverse views, the audience is asked to refrain from clapping, cheering, booing or making any other commentary to public comments.
School Districts need appropriate opportunities to provide for dialogue among interested parties. When individuals express views or present their position in a respectful manner, such positive behavior enhances the purposes of open public discourse and serves to make the importance of public service and volunteerism more valued and attractive. The Board will make available information germane to the issues under review and carefully consider comments and concerns from all sources during the decision making process.
In order to allow for public comment in an orderly and efficient manner at Board meetings, the following protocols shall be observed:
- When recognized by the Board President, the individual must provide his/her name for the record and the organization he/she represents, if applicable.
- Speakers are limited to three (3) minutes per speaker, timed by the District Clerk.
- The Board of Education may move to extend an individual’s time by one (1) minute for the purpose of concluding the comments.
- Speakers may comment on agenda items or comment about school-related subjects.
- Speakers may not comment upon or discuss matters which are appropriate for executive session (e.g., student matters, personnel matters, negotiations). Individuals who wish to discuss individual district personnel or students should present their comments and/or concerns to the Superintendent during regular business hours.
- Speakers may not use the public comment period as a means to self-promote, market or advertise their business or other commercial ventures, political or other personal activities, either directly or indirectly.
- Speakers will direct comments/questions to the Board President and will not address individual Board members directly.
- The Board will not engage in a dialogue with the individual, however, questions that may be responded to easily may be answered; other questions will be referred to the Superintendent.
- Speakers shall conduct themselves in a respectful manner and with civility. To maintain a civil discourse and to further the overall purpose of the meeting, speakers shall refrain from using obscene language, making libelous statements, making threats of violence, or making statements advocating racial, religious or other forms of prejudice or advocating illegal action.
- After the public comment period has been completed, the Board members may have a discussion among themselves regarding comments presented.
The Board President shall be responsible for the orderly conduct of the meeting and the enforcement of the provisions of this policy and, therefore, may cut-off a speaker who does not conduct himself/herself in a respectful manner and with civility as set forth above.
Adopted by the Board of Education: January 12, 1999
January 24, 2018
January 9, 2019