Policy 903: Public Participation in Board Meetings

    1. Purpose
    65 Pa. C.S.A.
    Sec. 701 et seq
    The Board recognizes the value to school governance of public comment on educational issues and the importance of involving members of the public in Board meetings. The Board also recognizes its responsibility for proper governance of the district and the need to conduct its business in an orderly and efficient manner.
    2. Authority
    65 Pa. C.S.A.
    Sec. 710
    The Board shall establish guidelines to govern public participation in Board meetings necessary to conduct its meeting and to maintain order.
    65 Pa. C.S.A.
    Sec. 710.1
    In order to permit fair and orderly expression of public comment, the Board shall provide an opportunity at each open meeting of the Board for residents and taxpayers to comment on matters of concern, official action or deliberation before the Board prior to official action by the Board.

    Public participation shall be permitted only as indicated on the order of business in the Procedures of this Board and before the Board takes official action on any issue of substance. The order of business may provide opportunity for comment regarding items on the agenda, as well as an opportunity for comment regarding any other concern relative to school district matters.

    Public comment at school board committee meetings will be permitted in a manner prescribed by the committee chair or presiding officer.
    65 Pa. C.S.A.
    Sec. 710.1
    If the Board determines there is not sufficient time at a meeting for public comments, the comment period may be deferred to the next regular meeting or to a special meeting occurring before the next regular meeting.
    3. Delegation of Responsibility
    Pol. 006
    The presiding officer at each public Board meeting shall follow Board policy for the conduct of public meetings. Where his/her ruling is disputed, it may be overruled by a majority of those Board members present and voting.
    4. Guidelines
    Whenever issues identified by the participant are subject to remediation under policies and procedures of the Board, they shall be dealt with in accordance with those policies and procedures and the organizational structure of the district.

    The Board requires that public participants be residents or taxpayers of this district or
    1. anyone representing a group in the community or school district.
    2. any representative of a firm eligible to bid on materials or services solicited by the Board.
    3. any district employee.
    4. any district student.
    Participants must be recognized by the presiding officer and must preface their comments by an announcement of their name, township of residence, and group affiliation if applicable.

    Each statement made by a participant shall be limited to 3 minutes duration.

    No participant may speak more than once on the same topic, unless all others who wish to speak on that topic have been heard.
    All statements shall be directed to the presiding officer; no participant may address or question Board members individually.
    The presiding officer may:
    1. interrupt or terminate a participant's statement when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, obscene, or irrelevant.
    2. request any individual to leave the meeting when that person does not observe reasonable decorum.
    3. request the assistance of law enforcement officers to remove a disorderly person when his/her conduct interferes with the orderly progress of the meeting.
    4. call a recess or adjourn to another time when the lack of public decorum interferes with the orderly conduct of the meeting.
    5. waive these rules with the approval of the Board.
    Electronic recording devices and cameras, in addition to those used as official recording devices, shall be permitted at public meetings under guidelines established by the Board.

    No placards or banners will be permitted within the meeting room.

    The meeting agenda and all pertinent documents shall be available to the press and public at the meetings.
    Sunshine Act – 65 Pa. C.S.A. Sec. 701 et seq
    Board Policy – 006

    Adopted: 3/28/94
    Revised: 1/28/08
    901 Ridge Road
    Pottstown, PA 19465