All school boards want to encourage public participation, right? That was the question on the table at Monday’s meeting of the District 56 Board of Trustees. A proposed policy change had been tabled at last month’s meeting. The change would make it easier for members of the public to address the School Board.
Chairman Jim Barton explained that current policy dictates that anyone wishing to address the Board must complete a form at least three days in advance requesting permission to come before the board. The change, if approved, would allow anyone to sign up prior to the meeting and address the Board that same evening.
As the discussion began Board Member Donna Jacobs was the first to state her opposition to the change. “I think that’s not a wise thing to do. And, the fact that we don’t have, obviously we don’t have any police help out here. Somebody could get really mad.” Ms. Jacobs was eventually joined by Board Members Edna McGee and Jan Simmons opposing the change.
Board Member Elizabeth McKinney had a different view, saying “I do not see how on Earth you can expect community participation if you don’t allow people to come to the Board meeting and speak. That’s all they’re asking permission to do is to speak.”
Mrs. McKinney was joined by Chairman Jim Barton and Dr. Patsy Sadler in voting for the change.
And that’s how it ended, in a 3 to 3 tie which means the motion failed due to failing to achieve a majority vote for the policy change. Board Member Sharon Miller-Corley was not present for the vote.