School Board Makes it Difficult for Community to Participate
Original post made by Eileen 1, Midtown, on May 3, 2013
Once you do have the opportunity to speak you are only given 3 minutes. I have observed that Dana Tom does not strictly enforce the 3 minute limit. It appears that if he is comfortable with the speaker he will let that person exceed the 3 minute time limit without interruption, but if the speaker's remarks are critical of the board he enforces the time limit promptly.
Although it is perfectly legal for the board to ask questions or comment on what a speaker has said, they seem to have decided never to comment on anything. Thus, there is no point in asking a question during your 3 minutes, as, after you speak, they just move on to the next 3 minute speaker without even acknowledging that you have spoken. All in all the entire process is incredibly frustrating and unrewarding. Not to mention it doesn't really give the public hope that they are having any impact when they make the effort to come to the meeting and comment.
I have come to believe that this is simply another way in which the Board and Superintendent Skelly conspire to keep the public out of their way. This seems especially true when you consider that Open Forum section of the meeting usually takes less than 15 minutes.
I am proposing that the Board schedule Open Forum at 7:30 pm. No matter what the Board is doing at 7:30 pm they would break for Open Forum. That way community members would know exactly what time they need to be at the meeting in order to speak, and it is possible that parents of children currently in the district would more easily be able to attend meetings because they would be guaranteed to be finished at a reasonable hour.