CONDUCT OF PUBLIC MEETINGS

BOARD POLICY - 9323

It is the intent of the Board of Education to provide for the reasonable and orderly transaction of business and to assure members of the public of their right to appear before the Board.  The Board president shall conduct Board meetings in accordance with Board bylaws and procedures that enable the Board to efficiently consider issues and carry out the will of the majority.

Introduction of Items Not Appearing on the Agenda:

Members of the Board of Education, Administration or members of the public may introduce subjects within the jurisdiction of the Board not listed on the agenda. However, no action shall be taken in a regular meeting on a subject not listed on the published agenda, except when:

  1. the Board, by majority vote of those members present, determines that the meeting is a special meeting to respond to an emergency situation;
  2. the Board determines, by either a 2/3 majority or if unavailable a unanimous vote of all Board members present, that the need to take immediate action arose after the posting of the agenda;
  3. the matter was properly posted for a previous meeting occurring not less than five (5) days earlier, and was continued to an adjourned meeting for the purpose of taking action.

Public Participation / Discussion of Agenda Items

Members of the public are encouraged to attend Board meetings and to address the Board concerning any item on the agenda or within the Board's jurisdiction. So as not to inhibit public participation, persons attending Board meetings shall not be requested to sign in, complete a questionnaire, or otherwise provide their name or other information as a condition of attending the meeting.

In order to conduct district business in an orderly and efficient manner, the Board requires that public presentations to the Board comply with the following procedures:

  1. The Board shall give members of the public an opportunity to address the Board on any item of interest to the public that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board, either before or during the Board's consideration of the item. (Education Code 35145.5; Government Code 54954.3)
     
  2. At a time so designated on the agenda at a regular meeting, members of the public may bring before the Board matters that are not listed on the agenda. The Board shall take no action or discussion on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except as authorized by law. (Education Code 35145.5; Government Code 54954.2)
     
  3. Without taking action, Board members or district staff members may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by the public about items not appearing on the agenda. Additionally, on their own initiative or in response to questions posed by the public, Board members or staff members may ask a question for clarification, make a brief announcement, or make a brief report on their own activities. (Government Code 54954.2)

    Furthermore, the Board or a Board member may provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, ask staff to report back to the Board at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or request staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda. (Government Code 54954.2)
     

  4. The Board need not allow the public to speak on any item that has already been considered by a committee composed exclusively of Board members at a public meeting where the public had the opportunity to address the committee on that item. However, if the Board determines that the item has been substantially changed since the committee heard the item, the Board shall provide an opportunity for the public to speak. (Government Code 54954.3)
     
  5. A person wishing to be heard by the Board shall first be recognized by the president and shall then proceed to comment as briefly as the subject permits.

In general, individual speakers will be allowed three minutes to address the Board on each agenda or nonagenda item, and the Board will limit the total time for public input on each item to 30 minutes. However, in exceptional circumstances when necessary to ensure full opportunity for public input, the Board president may, with Board consent, adjust the amount of time allowed for public input and/or the time allotted for each speaker. Any such adjustment shall be done equitably so as to allow a diversity of viewpoints. The president may also ask members of the public with the same viewpoint to select a few individuals to address the Board on behalf of that viewpoint.

In order to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to directly address the Board, any member of the public who utilizes a translator shall be provided at least twice the allotted time to address the Board, unless simultaneous translation equipment is used to allow the Board to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously. (Government Code 54954.3)

  1. The Board president may rule on the appropriateness of a topic. If the topic would be more suitably addressed at a later time, the president may indicate the time and place when it should be presented.

    The Board shall not prohibit public criticism of its policies, procedures, programs, services, acts, or omissions. (Government Code 54954.3) In addition, the Board may not prohibit public criticism of district employees.

    Whenever a member of the public initiates specific complaints against an employee, the Board president shall inform the complainant that in order to protect the employee's right to due process and fair representation, and also to preserve the ability of the Board to legally consider the complaints about the employee, it is the policy of the Board to receive such complaints in writing in accordance with district polices.  The Board president shall encourage the complainant to file a written complaint using the appropriate district complaint procedure.

Request for Placing an Item on the Agenda

Any Board member or member of the public may request that a matter within the jurisdiction of the Board be placed on the agenda of a regular meeting. The request shall be submitted in writing to the Superintendent or designee with supporting documents and information, if any, at least seven (7) calendar days before any regular meeting. Items submitted less than seven (7) calendar days before the scheduled meeting date may be postponed to a later meeting in order to allow sufficient time for consideration and research of the issue.

The Board president and Superintendent shall determine whether the specific matter is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board and is appropriate for an open Board meeting or if the request is merely a request for information or whether the issue is covered by an existing policy or administrative regulation.

The Board president and Superintendent shall decide whether an agenda item is appropriate for discussion in open or closed session, and whether the item should be an action item subject to Board vote, an information item that does not require immediate action, or a consent item that is routine in nature and for which no discussion is anticipated.

A date for a Board meeting will be set as soon as practicable, bearing in mind such considerations as conformance to the Brown Act and Roberts Rules of Order regarding such matters, allowing sufficient time to gather pertinent information, assembling members of the staff who have sufficient knowledge of the subject, and placing the matter on the printed agenda of a Regular Board Meeting. The Superintendent shall notify the individual or group of the time and the place of the meeting of the requested item.

To be acceptable, a written request for Board consideration of a matter should include:

  1. name, address, email address and/or telephone number of the person or persons wishing to speak and the name of the organization or group represented, if any;
     
  2. topic title;
     
  3. statement of action to be requested of the Board and pertinent background information leading to the request;
     
  4. relevant attachments and/or additional information appropriate for consideration;
     
  5. requested Board meeting date.

At the discretion of the Board, limitations may be placed upon the length of time any subject may be discussed, the number of persons permitted to speak to a given subject, and the time to be allotted to each speaker.

Delegation

As a delegation, any member of the public may address topics not appearing on the agenda. The Board will not take action on any item presented under “Public Comments” except as agreed to by a majority of members present. The Board may consider requests made under “Public Comments” for items to be placed on the agenda at a future date.

“Public Comments” will be heard near the beginning and ending of all regular Board meetings.

The president may limit the time devoted to presentations. Advance notice of a delegation’s intention to appear is requested.

Rules of Conduct

  1. The Board president shall not permit any disturbance or willful interruption of Board meetings. Persistent disruption by an individual or group or any conduct or statements that threaten the safety of any person(s) at the meeting shall be grounds for the president to terminate the privilege of addressing the Board at that meeting.
     
  2. The Board may remove disruptive individuals and order the room cleared if necessary. In this case, members of the media not participating in the disturbance shall be allowed to remain, and individuals not participating in such disturbances may be allowed to remain at the discretion of the Board. When the room is ordered cleared due to a disturbance, further Board proceedings shall concern only matters appearing on the agenda. (Government Code 54957.9)  When such disruptive conduct occurs, the Superintendent or designee shall contact local law enforcement as necessary.
     
  3. To ensure an open and civil environment, speakers’ comments must be consistent with the California Education Code pertaining to discrimination.  This includes comments that are derogatory, disparaging, or insulting to particular groups on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, including immigration status.  
     
  4. There will be no smoking at public Board Meetings.

Recording by the Public

Members of the public may record an open Board meeting using an audio or video recorder, still or motion picture camera, cell phone, or other device, provided that the noise, illumination, or obstruction of view does not persistently disrupt the meeting. The Superintendent or designee may designate locations from which members of the public may make such recordings without causing a distraction.

If the Board finds that noise, illumination, or obstruction of view related to these activities would persistently disrupt the proceedings, these activities shall be discontinued or restricted as determined by the Board. (Government Code 54953.5, 54953.6)

Changes in Procedures

All procedures are subject to adjustment at the discretion of the Board in order that its business may be conducted in the most constructive manner.

Legal Reference:

Education Code
78 “Governing Board” defined
35144 Special meetings
35145 Public meetings
35145.5 Agenda; public participation; regulations
35146 Closed sessions
52034(c) Reasonable opportunities for each school site council representatives to meet with governing board

Government Code
54950 Open Meetings, et. seq.

Policy Adopted: November 3, 1980
Policy Revised: February 17, 1987
Policy Revised: April 6, 2004
Policy Revised: February 16, 2016
Policy Revised: June 7, 2022