Proposed JCPS board policy change would limit public speakers at - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Proposed JCPS board policy change would limit public speakers at meetings

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The JCPS school board (Photo courtesy JCPS) The JCPS school board (Photo courtesy JCPS)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The way the public is able to participate in Jefferson County Board of Education meetings and how the meetings are organized are among some policies that will be up for discussion at Tuesday's board meeting.

The meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. at Field Elementary School, has four board policies that are up for submission and first reading, including a change in the way public comments would be allowed at meetings.

Among the major changes that could happen: A maximum of ten speakers per meeting would be allowed to address the board and they would have to register with the board secretary by 4 p.m. the day before the meeting takes place.

In addition, no more than three people will be able to speak with the same position on any one topic before the board at any meeting, for a maximum of six people speaking on one topic at a particular meeting.

As it currently stands, there is not a limit to the number of speakers allowed at meeting and speakers are allowed to sign up to speak up until the start of the regular board meeting, which is typically at 7 p.m.

The board is also looking at allowing the first three speakers to register to speak after the recognitions and resolutions portion of the board agenda. All other speakers (not exceeding 10) would be allowed to address the board after board reports, requests and planning calendar portion of the agenda.

School board chairman Chris Brady told WDRB on Friday that some of the revisions are based on the way the Louisville Metro Council handles its meetings.

"This is really the starting point," Brady said. "We can certainly look and discuss this policy as a board and determine whether or not we would like to adjust it."

Brady said board members have expressed a desire to move some speakers up to the front of the meeting.

Indeed, at the Jan. 10 school board meeting, newly elected board member Ben Gies moved quickly to motion to rearrange the meeting to allow public speakers the chance to speak earlier in the evening instead of having to wait.

"We value the public speakers, I don't want them to have to wait until the end," Brady said. "But I also want to make sure that we are able to move the meeting along so that we are able to conduct official business of the board as well."

But at least one school board member said Friday she doesn't like the way the revised policy is written.

"It feels a bit too confining to me," said Linda Duncan.

Because the policy is only up for a first reading, it will not be up for approval at Tuesday's meeting.

Other board policy changes that will be up for first reading include:

  • Removing the requirement that board members sign a commitment at the first organizational meeting each year to abide by the policies and procedures established for board meetings.
  • Shifting the way the agenda is organized.
  • Requiring the district to permanently retain recordings of board meetings.

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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