By: Diane Benjamin
The next School Board meeting is January 10th, 7:00 pm at Chiddix Junior High, 300 S Walnut St, in Normal. Website
See the Unit 5 Public Comment policy HERE
Public Comment at every meeting of a Public Body is LAW. It’s called the Open Meetings Act. If you read Unit 5’s Public Comment policy it sounds like they are doing you a favor.
I predict this meeting will be packed with citizens who want answers.
From the policy:
- Meetings of the Board are conducted for the purpose of carrying on the business of the District, and therefore are not public meetings, but meetings held in public.
Unless the Board is planning on funding the district themselves in the future, the Board is carrying out the PEOPLE’S business. They weren’t elected to rule without accountability.
- During the time when the Board is holding official meetings, only those persons recognized by the presiding officer shall be permitted to participate in the discussion. Any individual not so recognized is out of order.
The policy doesn’t say how persons are recognized. Arrive early if you want to speak.
- Each speaker shall have an opportunity to speak for three minutes. If, however, a large number of speakers wish to be heard, the presiding officer may shorten this time allotment. A majority of the Board members present at any meeting may waive the three minute time allotment for a speaker
This is a vague statement so the Board President can enact whatever rules he wants
- Since all open meetings of the Board are made a matter of public record, each speaker, when recognized by the presiding officer, should give his or her name, address or school if a student, and announce the general subject, before presenting views. It is strongly encouraged that for further review a copy of the speaker’s remarks be provided to the Board.
The Law doesn’t require anyone to give their address. Although written comments don’t have the impact of spoken words, citizens not wanting to speak could use their time to hand comments to the Board members. Bring 7 copies.
- It shall be in order for the members of the Board or the Superintendent to question the speaker or to make comments regarding the individual’s statement.
Could be interesting, this policy normally doesn’t go well.
- To minimize the possibility of the Board making ill advised, illegal, or improper rulings due to hasty action in the absence of adequate information and study, proposals or requests that are not listed as items on the agenda will be referred to the Superintendent for recommendation to the Board. The Superintendent shall communicate the Board’s action, if any, to those citizens following the next scheduled Board meeting
This statement is absurd! The Open Meetings Act prohibits the Board from taking any action on items not on the agenda. Items not on the agenda can be discussed, just not voted on.
I know people are outraged by the “secret” meeting the Board held resulting in the football coach “resigning”. Until they get answers they will remain outraged.
Previous story: https://blnnews.com/2017/12/21/normal-west-i-need-some-help/.