Board Begins New Phase that Invites Public Participation

Posted on January 6, 2021
Categories: Blog, Insights with the Board

With the New Year, the Board of Education begins a new chapter of reimagined governance that invites public input into the Board’s core work of improving student achievement via Goals & Guardrails, the Board’s five-year plan.

Specifically, the Board is making its work more accessible to diverse groups by: revamping its public testimony procedures, creating space for two-way Community Conversations and opening a new channel of communication on action items.

The Board has launched a new Action Item Review process that invites the public to review action items and then to send comments and questions to Board Board President Joyce Wilkerson. Action items will be posted three weeks before every monthly meeting, and public comments will be collected for one week. The Board President will then review all constituent outreach and send a representative set to the School District, which will respond in writing to the questions. Lastly, responses will be posted publicly, no less than three days before the meeting. To send a question regarding action items on the January 28th meeting agenda, please go here.

“The Board looks forward to opening up new channels of communication with our school communities; and by doing so, we hope to increase public participation in the Board’s work and to bring new measures of accountability to our work,” said Board President Joyce Wilkerson.

The Board will also begin Community Conversations, a newly developed forum hosted by the Parent and Community Advisory Council (PCAC.) PCAC members plan to lead five sessions during the school year that will bring together one or two Board Members and a community group to discuss topics aligned with the Board’s work. Board Members will summarize community feedback, and the meetings will conclude with action steps being developed.

“Board Members are eager to join these two-way conversations and to take community feedback to the entire Board to be considered in the decision-making process,” said Board Vice President Leticia Egea-Hinton. “We want to continue to enrich our decisions with diverse community input and perspectives.”

In addition to the new Action Item Review process and the Community Conversations, the Board has amended its Speaker Testimony procedures to increase diverse input by prioritizing students and encouraging new speakers to present testimony. Specifically, student speakers will be given their own place on meeting agendas, while people who have not spoken at the last meeting will be placed before those who have spoken. Moving forward, when the Board resumes in-person meetings, people may opt to speak in person or to join a meeting via telephone or internet if these options are more convenient. For more details on the Speaker Testimony procedures, please go here.

The public may also submit written testimony to the Board up to 48 hours in advance of a meeting. This testimony will be summarized at the Board meeting and will be posted in full with meeting materials and will be made part of the meeting record.

Finally, the Board will hold two general public hearings, called for in the Home Rule Charter, to collect public input into their work. This year’s public hearings will be held March 18, 2021, at 5 p.m., and May 20, 2021, at 5 p.m. These hearings will use different and expanded speakers procedures to be announced closer to the meetings.