Weekly Feature

2018-08-15 / Editorial

Second public expression allows for more feedback

Bee Editorial

Whether it’s a town, village or school board meeting, public participation is a beneficial way for leaders of the community to hear what residents have to say. At the Aug. 7 meeting of the Williamsville Board of Education, the board voted to continue the second public expression period during the 2018-19 school year.

The board’s public expression section allows individuals to speak on district-related topics for up to three minutes. The public expression period is limited to a total of 30 minutes unless the rules are suspended by a vote of the board.

According to the school district, the first public expression is at the top of the agenda — after the Pledge of Allegiance and any student/staff recognitions — and before the board gets into its business agenda for the evening. The second public expression has been added to the end of the agenda just before the conclusion of the regular meeting. Now, members of the public have a chance to address the board at the start and at the end of the meeting.

The board added the second public expression period — an action proposed by board member Philip Meyer — at the end of its regular business meetings, beginning in February. According to the school district, board members agreed unanimously to offer the additional feedback time on a trial basis through the end of the school year, for a total of four months.

After the 16 weeks ended, the board reviewed the public’s use of the period to decide whether or not it should be continued at all future meetings.

The second public expression portion increases an opportunity for the community to be able to address the board. It also allows people who were unable to be in attendance for the first portion of the meeting to still have a voice and express their opinion.

According to the school district, speakers who read from prepared texts are encouraged to present copies of that text to the board members or to make a copy available to the district clerk within 24 hours after the conclusion of the meeting.

“We welcome feedback from our constituents, and the added time allotted by the board provides another opportunity for us to hear from the public on issues affecting our schools and the education of our children,” said Superintendent Scott Martzloff.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in the District Office boardroom, at 105 Casey Road, East Amherst.

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