Public Participation at Board Meetings

Section B: Board Governance and Operations

Policy Title: Public Participation at Board Meetings
Policy Code: BEDH

Print Version (in PDF)

All regular and special meetings of the Board shall be open to the public.

The Board invites the viewpoints of citizens throughout the District, and considers the responsible presentation of these viewpoints vital to the efficient operation of the District.  The Board also recognizes its responsibility for the proper governance of the schools and therefore the need to conduct its business in an orderly and efficient manner.  The Board therefore establishes the following procedures to receive input from citizens of the District during a Call to the Audience at Board meetings:

Requesting to Address the Board
Any individual desiring to address the Board shall complete a form (Request to Address Board) and submit this form to Board staff.  Forms may be submitted electronically to the Board office by noon on the day of the meeting, or physically to Board staff at the meeting at any time before the close of the Call to the Audience.  Submissions must include the name of the speaker and the topic of their comments.  Submissions should also indicate whether the comments relate to an item on the meeting agenda.  

Submissions must indicate whether the individual desires to address the Board in person or to submit their comments in writing to be read into the record by the Governing Board Clerk during the Call to the Audience portion of the Board meeting.  All written comments will be distributed to Board members regardless of whether they have been read into the record.

Procedure for Call to the Audience
The Board President shall be responsible for recognizing speakers, maintaining proper order, and adhering to any time limit set.  

The public comment period shall be 45 minutes for regular meetings and 20 minutes for special meetings, which periods may be extended only upon approval of the Board.  The President or presiding officer may also set a time limit for each individual speaker or the reading of each written comment of no more than three (3) minutes.  Depending on the number of individuals signed up to speak during the public comment period, the President or presiding officer may shorten the time available for each individual to speak to allow more speakers to be heard.  Recognized speakers may not transfer or delegate their time to others.

In determining the order of speakers, those whose comments relate to an item on the meeting agenda will be given priority.  Order will otherwise be determined based on the order in which request forms were received.

If a speaker is not present in the meeting room at the time they are recognized, the speaker shall forfeit their opportunity to speak. 

Groups that wish to express their views are encouraged to select one speaker to represent the group’s views to the board.  When in the judgment of the Board President or presiding officer it appears:
•    that several audience members wish to express the same or similar views; the President or presiding officer may recognize one of them to address the board on behalf of the group; or
•    a speaker is repeating views that they, or another speaker, have already presented; the President or presiding officer may recognize the next speaker before the current speaker’s time has elapsed.

Speaker Etiquette
Speakers shall direct their comments to the Board and not to district staff or other audience members.  Speakers are expected to conduct themselves responsibly, civilly, courteously and with due respect, and should refrain from personal attacks or complaints unrelated to TUSD operations against Board members, district personnel, or others, whether they are in attendance or not.  Policy KE is provided by the Board for disposition of legitimate complaints, including those involving individuals.

Conduct of speakers shall be no different than expected conduct of visitors to TUSD schools as set forth in Governing Board Policy KFA.  Speakers shall not threaten, harass, or intimidate any Board member, district staff or student, or other member of the TUSD community.  Speakers shall refrain from using language that is obscene or vulgar.

In enforcing speaker etiquette, the Board President or presiding officer may:
•    interrupt speakers during their allotted time in order to remind them of these rules;
•    end the speaking time of recognized speakers who violate these rules;
•    remove speakers from the meeting if they violate these rules in a manner that is disruptive to Board business; and/or
•    recess the meeting until such time as it can be continued without the disruption.

The Board retains the right to temporarily or permanently bar from TUSD property, including from attending future Board meetings, any person who engages in disruptive or otherwise criminal behavior during a Board meeting, as detailed in Governing Board Policy KFA.

Board Response to Call to the Audience
At the conclusion of the Call to the Audience, any Board member may:
•    request that the Superintendent investigate an issue raised by a member of the public for later report to the Board;
•    request that a matter be placed on a future meeting agenda; and/or
•    respond to any comment made by an individual who has addressed the Board.  

No more than two Board members may address any issue raised during Call to the Audience, unless the matter is specifically listed on the agenda.  Requests to place an item on a future agenda will proceed in compliance with Policy BEDBA, Board Governance and Operations.  Public questions or comments on matters that are currently under legal review will not receive a response.

Unsolicited Services
Presentations for unsolicited services will not be permitted.  Companies or businesses offering services of possible interest to the District should send information to the District Office for distribution to appropriate District officials.

The Superintendent shall ensure that a copy of this policy is posted at the entrance to the Board meeting room, and that an adequate supply of forms is available.

Adopted: August 23, 2022
Revised: December 12, 2023


CROSS REF : BEDB – Board Meeting Agenda Posting and Organization
BEDBA – Board Governance and Operations
KE – Public Concerns and Complaints
KFA – Public Conduct on School Property