DATE: September 19, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Beginning Next Week, Members of the Public Will Have More Options for Being Heard at School Board Meetings
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The Albemarle County School Board has expanded opportunities for members of the community to participate in their meetings by offering multiple options to sign up for public comment. Beginning with the Board’s work session on Thursday of next week, September 26, people wishing to speak at Board meetings can sign up in advance, either online or by phone.
The school division will publish a link on its homepage (www.k12albemarle.org) that will be active every Monday in the week of board meetings, starting at 8 a.m. Members of the public also can sign up in advance of meetings by calling the School Board Clerk, Ms. Jennifer Johnston, at 434-972-4055.
Both online sign-ups and sign-ups that are done by phone must be completed by noon on the day of the meeting; in the case of next week’s meeting, by noon on September 26. As is current practice, anyone who attends a School Board meeting can sign up to speak beginning at 6 p.m. and continuing right up until the public comment period on the meeting agenda.
In its public comment guidelines, the Board says it “invites and actively seeks the public’s input in matters relevant to School Board governance or school division operations.” Speakers are called to address the Board in the order in which they sign up with the exception of students, who have priority. This practice is in consideration of students often having to complete homework in preparing for the next school day.
The Board allows each speaker up to three minutes to complete their remarks. This time may be reduced to two minutes if there is a large number of speakers signed up to speak at the meeting that evening.
When the School Board adopted the new practice on September 12, it described online and telephonic sign-up options as being a pilot program. Board members will evaluate how well the new approach is working in the first quarter of 2020 before determining if it should be revised or made permanent.
School Board meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, usually in Lane Auditorium on the second floor of the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. Meetings are available via video live-stream at: http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/player.htm?xml/schoolboard.xml
Due to the holidays, meetings for November and December will take place on the first and second Thursdays of those months, November 7 and 14, and December 5 and 12.
Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. All regular meeting agendas are accessible online by the Monday of the week of the meeting at http://esb.k12albemarle.org/ by clicking on the appropriate date on the calendar that appears at the far right.