Public Participation At School Committee Meetings

All regular and special meetings of the School Committee shall be open to the public. Executive sessions will be held only as prescribed by the Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The School Committee desires citizens of the District to attend its meetings so that they may become better acquainted with the operations and the programs of our local public schools.  In addition, the Committee would like the opportunity to hear the wishes and ideas of the public.

In order that all citizens who wish to be heard before the Committee have a chance and to ensure the ability of the Committee to conduct the District's business in an orderly manner, the following rules and procedures are adopted:

1.     At the start of each regularly scheduled School Committee meeting, individuals or group representatives will be invited to address the Committee.  The Chairperson shall determine the length of the public participation segment.

2.     Speakers will be allowed three (3) minutes to present their material. The presiding Chairperson may permit extension of this time limit.  Speakers will be warned when approaching their three (3) minute time limit.  If a speaker is not granted an extension of time, and persists in speaking after their time limit has expired, the Chairperson may terminate the individual’s privilege of address.

3.     Topics for discussion must be limited to school related items, matters, and programs that are within the scope of authority of the School Committee and are not listed on the School Committee meeting agenda for that evening.

4.     Vulgarities, threats or remarks likely to provoke a violent reaction will not be allowed.  If a speaker persists in making these types of remarks, the Chairperson may terminate that individual’s privilege of address.  

5.     All remarks will be addressed through the Chairperson of the meeting.

6.     Speakers may offer such criticisms of issues that are within the scope of authority of the School Committee so comments must concern the educational goals, policies or budget of the Burlington Public Schools, but in public session the Committee will not hear personal complaints regarding students, school personnel (excluding the performance of the Superintendent), nor against any member of the school community.  Under most circumstances, administrative channels are the proper means for disposition of legitimate complaints involving staff members.

7.     Written comments longer than three (3) minutes may be presented to the Committee before or after the meeting for the Committee members’ review and consideration at an appropriate time.

8.     Public participation concerning items on the School Committee meeting agenda for that evening will be permitted when the agenda item comes up for discussion by the Committee, subject to the conditions and limitations set forth above.

SOURCE: MASC
Replaces policy 1440
Adopted by the Burlington School Committee 10/27/09
Amended and Adopted: 10/29/19