School Board Considering Public Comments Policy Changes

By: Scott Bolejack

The public could soon find it easier to speak at Johnston County Board of Education meetings.

In recent months, the school board’s public-comments policy has come under fire from critics who say it discourages the public from speaking at board meetings. Specifically, the policy requires anyone wishing to speak to sign up at least 48 hours in advance and to furnish “statements or written information” before the meeting.

Under a proposed change, speakers could sign up in person as late as 2 p.m. on the day of a board meeting. And while speakers could still furnish statements or written information, they could also simply list the topic they wish to talk about.

Also, the school board would entertain “neither complimentary comments or critical comments” about confidential matters, including personnel matters. Instead, anyone with a complaint about a confidential matter would have to submit that complaint to the superintendent or to the “school system official responsible for the program or facility.”

On Tuesday, the school board took the proposed policy changes under advisement and offered no comment on them.