The “Public” in Public Education?

Public participation in setting the direction of Public Education, is a founding keystone that at times is forgotten and some would rather the public forget. Policies within a school system in Delaware are set by the school board based on not only input from educators, but also from the community at large whose children are served! Many districts throughtout the state have policies with regard to how the public can offer its positive and negative comments to the board to assist in those policy decisions. The following is the Milford Board of Educations policy as currently written:
MILFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT
Milford, Delaware 19963
POLICY
8503
PUBLIC AND EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION
AT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS
The Board recognizes its responsibility to the public and its employees concerning their needs to communicate with the Board of Education. This communication may take the form of proposals, complaints, inquiry, etc. Since it is the Board’s intent to restrict meetings to a reasonable time limit, the presiding officer is directed to enforce the following limits regarding public and employee communication at Board meetings.
1. Requests for inclusion on the prepared agenda shall be forwarded to the Superintendent in writing no later than five days prior to the meeting at which the presentation or discussion is to take place. Requests should include the name of the speaker(s), the topic or concern, and the desired action from the Board. No personnel issues may be discussed in open session. If the concern or issue is with personnel, the Board will grant an audience in a closed executive session. Such presentations shall be limited to a maximum of five minutes after which the presiding officer shall inform the presenter to terminate the discussion. In exceptional cases where urgency of the topic warrants justification of continued discussion, the presiding officer shall entertain a motion to extend the five minute time limit.
2. At the beginning of such a presentation, the presiding officer shall require the presenters to identify themselves and to state the purpose of their presentations.
3. At the beginning of citizen or employee presentation, the presiding officer shall remind the presenter of the established time limits.
ADOPTED: 7/14/75; 8/22/05

There are currently many issues in the Milford community that the public is interested in addressing with the board and so some reviewing of this policy is taking place and I am attaching a rough draft being discussed that I’d like to have feedback on to help me in my discussions. I also could use some feedback from other board members as to their districts policies and how they address the public speaking at open board meetings. The rough draft is Public Comment_Milford

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About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
This entry was posted in Delaware, Delaware Politics, Education. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The “Public” in Public Education?

  1. kilroysdelaware says:

    Looks good! Red Clay allows 3 minutes for public comment and there is a time keeper with warnings. Those wanting to address the board must fill out a green slip that requires name and address and purpose / subject they would like to speak on. Three minutes does go fast but there is always next month’s meetings. The green slip must be laid on the table where the district employee is recording the meeting before public comment section on the agenda. The board is not obligated to respond as the time is for “public comment”

    I hope your school district is considering digital recordings like Red Clay and Christina. Governor did sign legislation requiring the state board to record their meetings and put online effect September 2011. Recording are for public session only.

    • Wolfe Gary says:

      We are recording digitally but still working on getting them uploaded to the district web page. We are currently looking at board docs which will help with that loading and transparency.

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