BEDH-E: GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

FILE: BEDH-E
 
A School Committee Meeting is a meeting of a government body at which members of the body deliberate over public business. We welcome the attendance of members of the school district community to view your School Committee as it conducts its regular business meeting.
 
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 30A Section 18-22 governs public participation at open meetings of municipal government bodies.
Chapter 30A: Section 20(f), Regulation of participation by public in open meetings
Section 20(f). No person shall address a public meeting of a governmental body without permission of the presiding officer at such meeting, and all persons shall, at the request of such presiding officer, be silent. If, after warning from the presiding officer, a person persists in disorderly behavior, said officer may order him to withdraw from the meeting, and, if he does not withdraw, may order a constable or any other person to remove him and confine him in some convenient place until the meeting is adjourned.
 
The School Committee believes that the school district community should have an opportunity to comment to the Committee on issues that affect the school district and are within the scope of the Committee’s responsibilities. Therefore the Committee has set aside a period of time at each School Committee meeting to hear from the public. In addition, if the Committee believes that an issue requires a dialogue with the school district community, the Committee may schedule a separate public hearing on
that issue.
 
Any citizen who wishes to make a presentation to the School Committee on an item which is of interest to him/her and within the scope of the Committee’s responsibilities may request to be placed on the agenda for a particular meeting. Such request should be in writing and should be received by the Superintendent of Schools at least one week prior to the date of the meeting. Such request should contain background statements which would explain the scope and intent of the agenda item. The Chair of the Committee works with the Superintendent to formulate the meeting agendas. Together they will determine whether or not to place an item on the agenda and if the item is to be taken up they will also determine when to place an item on the agenda and all parameters to be required of the presenter.
 
Here are the general rules for the Committee’s public comment period:
  1. Public Comment shall be for a period no longer than 20 minutes and shall generally follow the opening of the meeting. The Committee reserves the right to rearrange its agenda to accommodate scheduled presenters.
  2. Any citizen wishing to speak before the Committee shall identify themselves by name and address and shall speak for no longer than 3 minutes. No citizen may speak more than once without permission of the Chair. All citizens shall speak to the full Committee through the Chair and shall not address individual members or administrators.
  3. Individuals may address topics on the agenda, items specified for public comment, or items within the scope of responsibility of the School Committee. The Chair shall rule out of order any individual who fails to honor the guidelines or who addresses a matter inappropriate for public comment.
  4. Any Committee member may direct questions to the speaker through the Chair in order to clarify comments of the speaker.


Lexington Public Schools, Lexington MA
Adopted by Lexington School Committee: July 2015