Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: BEDH
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School Board Governance and Operations
Public Participation at School Board Meetings

Students and parents/guardians of students enrolled in the School District and School District residents, property taxpayers, and employees have the express right and are encouraged to attend meetings of the School Board to listen and observe the deliberations of its members and to participate in the meetings as further explained in this policy. A Board meeting is a legislative session, a public input session, or a work session.

Legislative Session

The purpose of a legislative session is to discuss, deliberate and, when appropriate, take action on issues presented to the Board by the Superintendent or other Board members. In general, a Board meeting for legislative purposes is not an open hearing on a topic or issue. At a legislative session of the Board there are generally two opportunities to address the Board. The first opportunity is at the agenda item entitled Persons Wishing to Address the School Board and the second opportunity is for Public Input on Agenda Items, which occurs after an action has been presented to the Board but prior to Board discussion of an action or a first or second reading of a policy item listed on the Board agenda. Some legislative sessions include a Public Hearing. This allows a third opportunity to address the Board.

Persons Wishing to Address the School Board

Non-Agenda Items

  • This portion of the agenda is available for individuals wishing to address the Board about a District-related subject that is not listed on the Board agenda of the meeting at which the person is addressing the Board.
  • An individual wishing to address the Board on a District-related issue which is not on the agenda must sign up prior to the start of the meeting with the Business Manager or designee and give his/her name, address, and topic about which the person wishes to speak.
  • The speaker is limited to five minutes regardless of the number of subjects the person wishes to cover. If multiple individuals sign up to speak on the same topic that is not an agenda item, total testimony on the topic shall be limited to 15 minutes per side of the issue as determined by the President.

Public Input on Agenda Items

  • Individuals wishing to address the Board regarding an item on the agenda will have an opportunity to do so after the administration has presented the item to the Board but prior to the Board addressing the agenda item.
  • Individuals wishing to address the Board on an agenda item must sign up with the Business Manager or designee prior to the beginning of the meeting. Each person wishing to speak must give his/her name, address, identify the agenda item and whether he or she will be speaking for or against the item. The President may waive the requirement that a speaker must sign up to address an agenda item prior to the beginning of the meeting. However, if the waiver is granted, the speaker must sign up with the Business Manager or designee prior to leaving the meeting.
  • Individuals may address the Board for a maximum of five minutes on an individual agenda item.
  • A maximum of fifteen minutes per side of testimony will be permitted per agenda item. If more speakers sign up to speak to an issue than time is available, the President may request that each side of the issue select a person or two to speak to each side of the issue.

Public Hearing

  • Public hearings are required by State law and Board policy prior to certain actions (e.g. approval of the budget).
  • Individual testimony shall be limited to three (3) minutes. At the discretion of the President, this limit can be extended.
  • The public may address the Board without signing up prior to speaking.
  • Each speaker must state his/her position in a clear, concise manner. The person may ask for clarification on an item. As appropriate, the President may authorize a Board member or the administration to clarify the issue.

Public Input Session

Public input sessions are scheduled by the Board exclusively to receive information on a particular topic in an informal setting. Public input sessions are generally governed by the following guidelines:

  • Individual testimony for all persons may be limited at the discretion of the President.
  • The public may address the Board without signing up prior to speaking.
  • Individuals are encouraged to ask questions and give suggestions during a public input session.
  • These guidelines may be revised by the President to best fit the topic or purpose of the input session. The expectations of the public shall be explained at the beginning of each public input session.

Work Session

Work sessions are public meetings at which the Board receives detailed information from the administration, other Board members, and invited guests.

An opportunity for public input shall be provided under the following guidelines:

  • The opportunity to provide input shall be limited to addressing the Board regarding an item on the work session agenda, excluding committee reports;
  • The public input period shall occur after the Administration has presented its report on the agenda item;
  • Individuals wishing to address the Board must sign up with the Business Manager or designee prior to the beginning of the meeting. Each person wishing to speak must give his/her name, address, identify the work session agenda item and whether he or she will be speaking for or against the work session agenda item.
  • Individual testimony shall be limited to three (3) minutes. At the discretion of the President, this limit can be extended.
  • A maximum of six (6) minutes will be permitted per work session agenda topic. If more speakers sign up to speak to an issue than time is available, the President may prorate time accordingly or request the group to select two individuals to speak on the group’s behalf.

General Decorum for All Types of Meetings

  • Anyone addressing the Board must give his/her name and address.
  • The speaker may not give oral complaints regarding District personnel or personnel actions. Complaints regarding District personnel are to be addressed to the Superintendent in private or in writing to the Superintendent and Board members in accordance with Policy KEB/KEB-R.
  • The speaker may not offer personal attacks against any individual.
  • The speaker may not give oral complaints identifying individual students. Complaints regarding individual students are to be addressed to the Superintendent in private or in writing to the Superintendent and Board members in accordance with Policy KE.
  • The Board President, at his/her discretion, may request the administration or another Board member to respond to a person addressing the Board immediately following the input or may direct the administration to respond in writing.

If an individual does not follow the appropriate guidelines for speakers, he or she may be denied the privilege of speaking before the Board. Upon the first violation of the guidelines by an individual, such person’s privilege of speaking may be suspended for the remainder of the Board meeting at which the violation occurs. If an individual violates the guidelines a second time, the person’s privilege of speaking before the Board may be suspended for the remainder of that meeting and for the next Board meeting. If an individual violates the guidelines a third time, the length of the suspension may be at the discretion of the President, but may not exceed one year.

Notwithstanding the ability of the Board to suspend an individual’s privilege to speak before the Board, that person may always communicate with the Board in writing.

Legal Reference:

SDCL 1-25-1 1-25-1. Official meetings open to the public - Exceptions - Teleconferences - Violation as misdemeanor

Related Policies:

KE - Public Concerns and Complaints
KEA - Public Concerns/Complaints about Policies
KEB- Public Concerns/Complaints about Personnel
KEB-R - Public Concerns/Complaints about Personnel

 

Policy   Board Action (formerly 9364)
Adopted 05-28-68    
Amended 10-25-93 27458.2d  
Amended 02-27-95 27951  
Amended 10-28-96 28634  
Amended 01-13-03 33409  
Amended 10-24-05 34245  
Amended 06-26-06 34458  
Amended 02-26-07 34655  
Amended 09-14-09 35488  
Amended 08-12-13 36693  
Amended 07-09-18 38082
Reviewed 08-13-18 38110
Amended 07-08-19 3837
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