Policy BEDH Public Participation at Meetings
The public is cordially invited to attend board meetings to become better acquainted with the operation and programs of the school district. The board conducts meetings for the purpose of carrying on the official business of the school district. The meetings are not public hearing meetings but are meetings held in public. Public participation will be permitted only as indicated on the agenda and at the discretion of the board. Regular, special, and emergency meetings are open to the general public, news media, and school staff.
In order that the board may conduct the meeting in a civil and professional manner, comments from the public should not include gossip, defamatory words, or abusive and vulgar language. The board reserves the right to terminate any presentation which does not adhere to the guidelines set forth in this policy.
Orderly conduct of a meeting does not permit spontaneous discussion from the audience. All persons who wish to participate must do so through established procedures. These procedures are designed to encourage participation and ensure the orderly management of the meetings. The board is committed to compliance with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act as well as all other federal and state laws which regulate or affect board actions and policy.
Public Input/Comments on Agenda Items
Comments addressing items on the agenda are allowed as a regular agenda item. Speakers may address only items printed on the agenda for that particular meeting. Speakers are required to complete a sign-in card five minutes prior to the beginning of the board meeting. Speakers will be recognized by the chairman to speak for no longer than three minutes per speaker. The total length of time allowed for public comment will be set at the discretion of the chairman.
Public Input/Comments at the End of the Board Meeting
Three minutes per person at the end of each board meeting will be devoted to input from citizens on items within the scope of the board’s duties. Speakers are required to complete a sign-in card five minutes prior to the beginning of the board meeting. Speakers will be recognized by the chairman to speak for no longer than three minutes per speaker. The board has set aside 20 total minutes for public comment. The total length of time allowed for public comment may be expanded at the discretion of the board chairman as the circumstances warrant.
Expectations for Public Input/Comments
Persons appearing before the board are reminded, as a point of information, that the members of the board are without the authority to act independently as individuals in official matters; thus, questions may be directed to the board, but answers must be deferred pending proper background investigation and consideration by the appropriated individuals.
Comments must be issue-oriented; complaints against any employee or references to students other than the child/children of the speaker will not be heard in public session. Among other things, comments may not be profane, vulgar, or obscene. The board vests in its chairman or other presiding officer the authority to terminate the remarks of any individual when he/she does not adhere to the procedures established in this policy