Community members are invited to address the Board at its regular business meetings on issues or topics of relevance to the school district by signing-up for public comment in-person and online. The approximate time for public comment will be posted in the published agenda for each regular business meeting, but as a general matter, public comment is likely to be taken around 5:00 pm. Public comment will be taken for up to twenty minutes, with the Board hearing from up to ten speakers, each having up to two minutes to speak. If there is a group of speakers on a specific topic, the total time allowance for the group will be up to two minutes.
Those who wish to provide public comment in-person or online may submit their request to make public comment (online or in-person) by 12:00 pm on the Wednesday prior to a Thursday school board meeting. For example, for the January 26, 2023 meeting, requests would need to be received by 12:00 pm on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Requests to make public comment can be made by completing a request form.
Ten members of the public will be selected from the requests to speak using a digital randomizer. Any combination of online/in-person speakers is possible. Individuals who are not selected from the requests to speak will be put on a digitally randomized waitlist.
Members of the public will be informed by 4:00 pm on the Wednesday prior to the Thursday meeting as to if they were selected to speak. If a selected in-person speaker decides to switch to providing commentary online, they would need to communicate that to Monica Niemela, Executive Team Coordinator an firstname.lastname@example.org by 12:00 pm on the day of the meeting.
Selected speakers who plan to give comment in-person will check in by 4:30 pm on meeting days. If an in-person selected speaker(s) does not check in, those on the waitlist will be contacted to determine if they still wish to speak online.
If there are in-person attendees who did not request to make public comment in-person in advance wish to make comment and there are less than ten members of the public that have sought to speak at any given regular business meeting, they will be permitted to make public comment if there are the same number, or fewer making the request than spaces available. In person attendees wishing to comment must check in by the time of the meeting’s call to order, 4:30pm.
Online attendees who did not request to make public comment online in advance who wish to make comment and there are less than ten members of the public that have sought to speak at any given regular business meeting will be permitted to make public comment if there are the same number, or fewer making the request than spaces available.
Public comment guidelines allow the meeting chair to terminate an individual’s statement when the allocated time has passed, to ensure the maximum number of comments can be heard. The board will not tolerate uncivil discourse and the meeting chair may interrupt a speaker to maintain the same level of civility the board imposes upon itself. Examples of uncivil comments include comments that:
- Are libelous or slanderous;
- Are an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
- Are obscene or indecent pursuant to the Federal Communications Act or any rule or regulation of the Federal Communications Commission;
- Violate school district policy or procedure related to harassment, intimidation, bullying, or discrimination;
- Incite an unlawful act on school premises or violate a lawful school regulation; or
- Create a material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the Board meeting.
Additional details can be found in Policy 1400 (PDF) and Procedure 1400P (PDF) – Meeting Conduct, Order of Business, and Quorum. Please note that certain provisions of Board Policy 1400 have been suspended. Specifically, on p.3 under the Public Comment During Regular Meetings section, paragraphs two and three which speak to time of public comment and speaker selection.
Certain provisions of Procedure 1400P have also been suspended. Specifically, on Page 2 under the Public Comment During Regular Meetings section, paragraphs one, two, and four (which speak to time and duration of public comment, speaker selection, and process).
While the Board will listen to all public comments carefully, the Board will not respond to comments spontaneously or without further deliberation.
It is important to note that community members have other means to share information with the Board, as well as directly with school district staff. In most cases, feedback should start with those closest to the situation or person – for example, to a teacher, principal, or program staff who are able to address concerns, particularly those relating to specific students or staff.
The Board has a dedicated email address (Board@bsd405.org) and voicemail (425-456-4270) for receiving communication in the senders’ language of choice that is distributed/transcribed to all Board directors and logged with staff. While individual Board directors do not usually respond directly, they do read all correspondence, and ask staff to respond to administrative/operational issues. The Board also hosts school visits with opportunity for engagement with families, students, and staff, as well as general community forums during the school year. Additionally, individual directors/pairs hold listening sessions and other community outreach events and serve as liaisons to several community organizations.