The school board is a unit of local government that establishes goals, directions, and priorities for a school district. The board helps determine the school district’s budget and policies. The primary purpose of a school board meeting is for board members to vote on critical issues relating to the school district. Because a local school board is an elected executive organization, decisions can only be made when most board members agree. But who can attend a school board meeting?
A school board meeting allows parents, teachers, and the community to get involved in the education process and impact the community. This post will give an overview of school board meetings to help you understand their importance and who can attend.
What Is a School Board Meeting?
A school board meeting is a formal business meeting for the school district in which the school board discusses board business and votes upon items for approval. Apart from recommended routine items, any issues that appear for a vote on the school board agenda are usually reviewed and approved by a committee before being brought to the board.
School board meetings usually include two public comment opportunities, one for general comments and another for items listed on the agenda. Local school boards address budgetary issues, school policies, academic calendars, disciplinary action regulations, district goals, and many more issues affecting their school. The school board sets the policies, goals, and objectives of the school district, and the superintendent is responsible for implementing these policies and achieving these objectives.
Who Can Attend a School Board Meeting: Overview
In general, all community members and taxpayers have a right to attend school board meetings. Common groups who attend include parents, teachers, and school administrators. These people should consider attending board meetings for the following reasons:
- Your voice matters: A school board meeting gives you a chance to voice your opinion. Visit the school district website to learn what’s on the agenda and how you can voice your concerns.
- Be informed: The only way to make meaningful change in education is to stay informed and involved. School board meetings allow community members to understand school district policies better by observing and familiarizing themselves with the policy-making process.
- It makes voting easier: Anyone can become a member of the school board, regardless of political affiliation, parental status, and education. Attending school board meetings allows you to learn whose values and vision align with your vision for the district and the community.
- Accountability: Attending board meetings allows you to ask school board members tough questions to help ensure they’re acting in the community’s best interests and living up to your expectations.
- Community safety: A common item discussed in these meetings is safety. If there’s a safety issue at a school in your neighborhood, you’ll want to know about it.
School boards are required to announce when and where board meetings will be held. By law, the board must meet at least once a month, but can meet more often.
While members of the public cannot place matters directly on the agenda, discussion topics may be submitted through the district’s complaint process and added to the agenda with the final approval of the board president. Otherwise, they can be brought up during a time for public comments. These will be recorded in the official meeting minutes.
Meetings may be adjourned or postponed for one reason or another. Notice of the postponement or adjournment, specifically the new venue, time, and date, must be posted outside the place the meeting was supposed to be held.
Some of the rules you may find in most board meetings include:
- Cell phones must be turned off and kept out of sight
- Private conversations should be moved to another room
- No one can check emails or send texts during the meeting
- Any speakers should open by announcing whether they’re speaking as an individual or on behalf of a group
- The board chair may cut off any speaker whose submissions are deemed digressive
- Rude behavior isn’t tolerated
- Each speaker may address only one point at a time
eScribe Drives School Board Effectiveness
By attending school board meetings, community members stay informed on school policies and happenings. Software solutions like eScribe revolutionize how board meetings are conducted, allowing for hybrid attendees, webcasting, and more. eScribe gives parents, administrators, teachers, and other parties the opportunity to collaborate on tasks in real-time within a school board meeting.
To learn more about how eScribe can help make your board meetings more efficient, download our Key Considerations for Public Webcasting whitepaper.