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Procedures and Guidelines for Public Participation in Remote Board Meetings

 

On March 14, 2020, Governor Lamont signed Executive Order 7B which suspends the in-person open meeting requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (provided certain conditions are met) in an effort to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 through in-person public meetings and proceedings. The administration has taken steps necessary to ensure that the Board of Education will satisfy the conditions set forth in Executive Order 7B for holding Board meetings and proceedings remotely by videoconference until such time that in-person public meetings are safe to resume.

The public can view remote Board meetings and proceedings in real time on the Board’s website . In addition, remote Board meetings and proceedings will be recorded, and such recordings will be posted on the Board’s website within seven days of the meeting or proceeding and made available within a reasonable time in the district’s offices.

Consistent with Board Policy 1120 (Board of Education Meetings), the Board of Education welcomes public participation in its meetings, including meetings held remotely pursuant to Executive Order 7B. The procedure for public comment during such remote meetings is as follows:

 

At certain time(s) during the meeting (generally only at the beginning of the meeting, unless otherwise indicated on the agenda), the Board Chair will invite the public to submit written comments using a Google Form during a certain designated period (a “Submission Period”). Each Submission Period will be 5 minutes long, unless otherwise indicated by the Board Chair at the beginning of the Submission Period.

The public may submit written comments during a Submission Period until the Board Chair indicates that the Submission Period has ended. During each Submission Period, the Board Chair will issue a “last call” for public comments shortly before the Submission Period ends.

The Board Chair, or designee, will read aloud the comments received during a Submission Period in the order in which such comments were received (a “Reading Period”). Each Reading Period will be 15 minutes long, unless otherwise indicated by the Board Chair at the beginning of the Reading Period.

Any comments submitted during a Submission Period for which there was no time during a Reading Period to read aloud, along with all comments submitted during any Submission Period, will be posted no later than the end of the following business day on the district’s website.

The guidelines for public participation in Board meetings held remotely pursuant to Executive Order 7B will be consistent with Board Bylaw 9325(a) (Meeting Conduct), except as outlined above and to the extent necessary to accommodate a remote format. A copy of Board Bylaw 9325(a) is attached for ease of reference.

 

Please note that the Board has suspended for the duration of the period in which the Board continues to meet remotely as permitted by Executive Order 7B, to enable implementation of appropriate procedures for welcoming public comment during regular Board meetings that are held remotely, the portion of Bylaw 9325(a) that pertains to public comment (“Provision for permitting any individual or group to address the Board concerning any subject that lies within its jurisdiction shall be as follows”). The Board has authorized the Superintendent of Schools to adopt the procedures above for welcoming public participation in remote Board meetings.

 

To access Google Form for Public Comment, click here