Nearly 300 people filled out a blue card at the Duval County Public Schools administration building on Tuesday, adding their names to the list of speakers who would speak directly to the school board at the meeting that evening.
At the heart of all this interest was a resolution, introduced by board member Charlotte Joyce, that would celebrate the controversial ‘Parental Rights in Education’ Act, which critics call the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ policy. from Florida.
Although a decision on the resolution was ultimately shelved by the board, some have floated the idea of updating the board policy governing public comment at board meetings after this section was extended Tuesday night’s meeting until just before 2 a.m.
After last night’s marathon @DuvalSchools meeting, I thought it would be appropriate to answer several questions by posting this section of the District Council Policy. These are THE TEN COMMANDMENTS for public comment at DCPS Board meetings. #News4JAX
Would you like to change something? pic.twitter.com/3nn2vkuiAE
—Joe McLean (@JoeMcLeanNews) May 4, 2022
Board policy requires that a meeting not be held after 11:00 p.m. unless a majority of the board votes to extend it. This vote took place shortly before 11 p.m., allowing the meeting to continue.
On Wednesday, council chair Darryl Willie told News4JAX that public comment is a fundamental part of the council’s accountability and functioning.
“At the end of the day, we’re an elected body,” Willie said. “We were elected by the voters. Once you’re on the board, you represent everyone.
Several ideas for possible changes to the board’s policy on public comment were put forward when board members deliberated whether to extend the Tuesday evening meeting past 11 p.m., including shortening the 3-minute time limit that members of the public are permitted to complete.
This idea was rejected, as this rule is enshrined in board policy.
“I think we’re definitely going to look at it and look at all the different opportunities and options that we have to make it more effective, efficient and effective,” Willie said of the board meetings. “I think it’s a balance. We want to make sure we hear the audience, but also be able to understand why we are there.
In particular, if the Board decides to change its policy on public comments during its meetings, this change will itself be subject to public comments.
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