Public Comment During Virtual Meetings
The School Board invites and actively seeks the public's input in the matters relevant to School Board governance and provides for time during its business meetings to hear from Albemarle County residents and community members. During public comment, we expect respectful and on-topic comments.
The School Board wishes to maintain appropriate meeting decorum so that persons can observe and hear the proceedings of the School Board and that attendees online are not subject to inappropriate language and conduct.
As authorized by ordinance of the County of Albemarle, the School Board will hold its meetings electronically during COVID-19 pandemic. The School Board is, nevertheless, committed to encouraging public comment despite its need to meet on a virtual basis. For this reason, there will be two (2) ways for the public to provide comment.
First, as always, written comments may be submitted to the School Board Clerk prior to the start of the meeting and will be disseminated to all of the School Board members for review. As long as the School Board holds its meetings electronically, members of the public wishing to provide public comment during the School Board meeting may sign up on-line at www.k12albemarle.org/board by 4:00PM the day before the meeting.
The Clerk will email Zoom links to the speakers on the day of the meeting so that they can log into the meeting to provide comment.
Before electronic public comment commences, the Vice Chair will announce the order in which the speakers will comment. Public commenters will initially be admitted to a “waiting room" area on Zoom until it is their turn to speak. They will be able to hear the meeting in progress while they wait. Each speaker's access to public comment will be activated when it is that speaker's turn to provide comment to the members of the School Board. Speakers will be notified when they reach the two (2) minute mark, and, at the three (3) minute mark, the speaker's Zoom link will be automatically deactivated. Although the School Board is confident that public comment will proceed in an orderly and respectful manner, upon instructions from the Chair, the Clerk has the ability to disconnect a speaker who is disruptive, profane, or fails to abide by these guidelines for orderly and productive discourse.
Speakers during the meeting or those submitting written comment should state name and address or magisterial district. Simply stating Albemarle County is not adequate. Further, speakers should limit comments to those matters that are relevant to School Board governance or the operations of the School Division.
Although the School Board will not respond to comments made during the Public Comment period, School Board members may address comments at the end of the meeting agenda under Other Business.
Public Comment Guidelines
The School Board welcomes the public to its meetings and asks that citizens follow the guidelines below when addressing the Board. The first step is to sign in with the School Board Clerk before the meeting begins. When it is time for public comment, as listed on the agenda, the Chairman will call forth each individual who has signed up to speak. All speeches are recorded and become part of the audio Podcasts of each Board meeting. Meeting minutes and podcasts are available on the School Division's website. The news media may also record speakers for use in their reporting.
The public is encouraged to address the School Board under Public Comment.
Individuals and/or organizations wishing to speak during Public Comment are encouraged to sign in with the Clerk. During the time set aside for public comment on the agenda, the Chairman will call forth individuals who signed up. Public testimony guidelines are as follows:
- Thirty minutes before the start of the meeting there will be a sign-up sheet for members of the public to sign up if they wish to speak before the School Board. After all individuals who signed up for Public Comment have spoken, the Chairman may ask if there are additional individuals who would like to speak.
- Speakers should adhere to the following protocol:
- Sign in with the Clerk before the meeting.
- At the speakers’ podium, please state name and address.
- Address comments to the School Board as a whole.
- Give written statements and other supporting material to the Clerk. Please note that written statements are made a part of the permanent records of the School Board. In addition, if the speaker is unable to complete the presentation in the time allotted, a copy of supporting materials will be provided to School Board members.
- Signing up for someone else is discouraged and limited to you and another person.
- Three minutes will be allowed for each presenter to speak. A color-coded light/card system will be used to time presentations. However, the Chairman may, with consensus of the School Board, reduce the time allocated for all individuals to speak.
- The yellow light/card means the speaker is 2minutes into the presentation, and the red light/card means the speaker is at the three-minute limit of the presentation and must wrap up.If a speaker represents a group, he/she may want to have others in agreement stand while he/she speaks, rather than having all speak on the same issue.
- In order to maintain respect for all points of view, the School Board requests no clapping, booing or any other form of support or nonsupport be used.
- When multiple comments on the same topic have been presented, the Chair may request additional comments on the topic be limited to those who have new information to present.
- Debate and dialogue with the School Board is not allowed during public comment.
- Use of the projection system is reserved for staff scheduled agenda item presentations only.
In lieu of having a large number of individual speakers, organized groups can request up to five minutes to speak during public comment, as long as the request is received two days prior to the scheduled meeting. The Chair will then either grant the request or deny the request, and the Clerk will notify the group.
When an individual and/or organization would like to be formally scheduled on the School Board agenda, the individual and/or organization must submit the request in writing to the Superintendent or Chairman. The Superintendent or Chairman will determine if the request should be granted and determine placement on an agenda. The individual and/or community organization will be notified of the decision.
In the event you are unable to speak during public comment or if you wish to write the Board instead, you may use the following contact information:
- Mailing Address:
- Albemarle County School Board
- 401 McIntire Road, Room 345
- Charlottesville, VA 22902
- E-mail Address:
All School Board members receive e-mail messages sent to the Board's group e-mail address. Letters sent by mail will be distributed to the appropriate Board members and school personnel.