Last week, we examined the role of the school board and its members. Now, let’s attend a meeting.
School board meetings customarily begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. That’s the “open session” to which the public is invited.
<p align="left"><b><i>Why does the board meet in closed session?</i></b></p>
Our meeting actually is called to order 45 to 90 minutes earlier for “closed session,” not open to the public because we discuss confidential items like personnel, pending litigation, labor or property negotiations and disciplinary matters. Before we recess to closed session, we do provide an opportunity for public comment, but only about items <b><i>on</i></b> the closed session agenda.
At 6:30 p.m., the board president reconvenes the meeting and reports any action taken in closed session. We then move quickly to approve prior meeting minutes and the evening’s agenda, and to recognize the “students of the year” from a particular school, one of the best parts of our jobs.
<p align="left"><b><i>How many times can members of the public comment?</i></b></p>
That brings us to the second invitation for public comment of the evening, this time regarding any school-related topic <b><i>not</i></b><b> </b><b><i>on</i></b><b> </b>our meeting’s regular agenda. Speakers may bring issues to the board’s attention, but the board cannot comment because the public has not been given proper notice of this topic. Comments are limited to three minutes.
<p align="left"><b><i>Why do you limit individuals to three minutes of comment?</i></b></p>