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204.9 - Public Participation in Board Meetings

The board encourages public attendance and participation in its public meetings. The board has a significant interest in maintaining the decorum of its meetings and it is expected that members of the public and the board will address each other with civility.

In assuring the public is heard and board meetings are conducted efficiently and in an organized manner, the board has established a specific agenda item, Audience Communications, for the purpose of providing the public an opportunity to express their points of view on items related to school business. Audience communications will be taken under consideration and a response, if appropriate, may be issued at another time. Board members will not respond to or act on audience communications during the public meeting. Audience communications are limited to regular board meetings and will not be routinely offered during special meetings.

Audience communications are subject to the following regulations:

  1. Time Limit: Speakers will limit their comments to three minutes unless the time limit is waived by the board president, or a majority of the board members present. When there are a large number of speakers to be heard, the board may shorten the allotted time.
  2. Addressing the Board: The speaker will sign in upon arrival including their name, relationship to the district (ex: parent, resident, etc.), and topic of communication. The board president will then use the sign-in sheet to call each speaker to the podium in order of sign in. The speaker is asked to stand at the podium, state their name, and identify their relationship to the district. Only individuals recognized by the presiding officer will be allowed to speak and any comments by others are deemed out of order. All comments should be shared in a respectful manner. The district will not be responsible for any defamatory or potentially defamatory statements which may be made. Individuals who have a complaint about employees may bring their complaint to the board only after they have followed Policy 1003.3-Complaints about School Personnel
  3. Receipt of Speaker Comments: Comments will be received by the board and, if appropriate or for clarification purposes, the board president or superintendent may seek additional information from the speaker. The board, at its discretion, may choose to place the speaker’s topic on a future agenda or delegate any action to the appropriate administrator.
  4. Conduct and Remarks Deemed Out of Order: Undue interruption or other interference with the orderly conduct of board business will not be allowed. Defamatory or abusive remarks are always deemed out of order. The board president or presiding officer may terminate the speaker’s comments if, after being called to order, they persist with improper conduct or remarks. If deemed disruptive, the individual(s) causing the disruption will be asked to leave the meeting.
  5. Special Procedures: The board reserves the right to establish special procedures to deal with extraordinary issues or circumstances. If the decision is made not to include audience communications during a particular meeting, it will be noted on the board agenda which is posted at least 24 hours before the scheduled board meeting.

Individuals who wish for an item to be placed on the board agenda may submit a valid petition to the board. For a petition to be valid, it must be signed by at least 500 eligible electors of the district, or 10% of the individuals who voted in the last school election, whichever number is lower.

Upon receiving a valid petition to the board to place a proposal on the next board agenda for public hearing, the board will place the proposal identified in the petition on the agenda of the next regular meeting, or a special meeting held within 30 days of receipt of the petition. The board will provide a sign-up sheet for all individuals who wish to speak on the proposal and individuals will be called to speak in order of sign-up. The sign-up sheet will require each individual to list their legal name and mailing address. Each speaker will be limited to an amount of time established by the board that is reasonable and necessary based on the number of speakers who have signed up. The same time limit will apply to all speakers on the proposal and each individual will be limited to one opportunity to speak. The board maintains absolute discretion on whether or not to discuss or act on the public comments made on the proposal. If a petition is related to curriculum, the district maintains discretion to determine whether to stop teaching the curriculum until the board holds the public hearing to discuss the petition.

For additional information on the development of school board agendas, refer to Policy 204.7.

Adopted: 3/72
Reviewed: 10/11; 9/16; 10/19; 10/22
Revised: 4/13; 8/14; 10/14; 9/21; 1/22; 2/22; 4/22; 8/23
Related Policy: 204.1; 204.4; 204.7; 1003.3
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21; 22; 279.8; 279.8B
IASB Reference: 213