7300 - Public Participation at Board Meetings

Policy 7300 Public Participation at Board Meetings title box

I. Statement of Purpose

The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School District desires members of the general public to attend School Board and Prudential Committee meetings to become better acquainted with the operation and programs of the schools and the School Boards. The School Boards and Prudential Committee members desire to have an opportunity to hear public comments(s) on posted agenda items and ideas of the public for future agenda items. All meetings of the Boards and Prudential Committee are meetings held in the public following the Vermont Open Meeting Law. The School Boards and Prudential Committee reserves the right to meet in non-public session to discuss such matters as are properly considered executive session items in accordance with VSA Title 1 Section 313. The School Boards and Prudential Committee reserve the right to eliminate public comment agenda items when a meeting is posted as executive session only. The School Boards and Prudential Committee also reserve the right to adjourn or recess a meeting at any time by majority vote.

II. Procedures

In order to assure that persons who wish to appear before the School Boards or Prudential Committee may be heard and, at the same time, conduct meetings properly and efficiently, the School Boards and Prudential Committee adopt the following procedures and rules pertaining to public participation at Board meetings:

A. For each meeting, an agenda item entitled Public Comments shall provide residents opportunities to address the School Boards and Prudential Committee.
B. The Chairs of the School Boards or Prudential Committee shall facilitate public comments, guiding the process for relevancy and time, to allow members sufficient time to conduct warned matters.
C. Non-residents wishing to speak in Public Comments may address the School Boards or Prudential Committee if time permits and at the discretion of the School Boards or Prudential Committee.
D. The School Boards or Prudential Committee vest in its Chairperson or other presiding officer authority to terminate the remarks of any individual or close public comments when comments do not adhere to the rules for content or time limitation.

III. Public Comments

A. Any individual desiring to speak shall give his or her name, address, and the group, if any, represented. The presentation should be as brief as possible and indicate any desired outcome.
B. Written remarks requiring board action regarding posted agenda items are accepted and will be shared publicly per Policy No. 7192, “Correspondence to the Board.” Those giving public comment are encouraged to share supportive remarks and may offer such objective criticisms of school operations and programs as concern them.
C. The School Boards or Prudential Committee shall not hear personal complaints of school personnel or complaints against any person connected with the school system during Public Comments, directing individuals with such concerns to follow Policy.
D. If questions are directed, by the public, to the School Board or Prudential Committee on topics that have not been posted as agenda items answers shall be deferred pending consideration by the full School Board or Prudential Committee and respective district and supervisory union administrators, in a timely manner.

Legal References:

1 V.S.A. §§310 – 313 Vermont Open Meetings Law

Cross References:

Policy #1025 “Public Complaints about Personnel”
Policy #7192 “Correspondence to the Board”

Policy 7300 warning and aadoption dates