A21: Public Participation at Board Meetings

  • Policy Code: A21

    First Reading:   March 8, 2018
    Second Reading:   March 20, 2018
    Adopted:   March 20, 2018
    Rescinded: August 17,2021


    It is the policy of the board to encourage public participation at its meetings.  School board meetings, meetings of subcommittees of the board, and meetings of advisory committees to the board, shall be held in accordance with Vermont’s Open Meeting Law, 1 VSA 310-314, and will be open to the public at all times including the press and broadcast media. However, the board reserves the right to hold executive sessions in accordance with law.  No resolution, rule, regulation, appointment, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such open meetings except as provided under Title 1 Section 313(a)(2). 

    At an open meeting the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to express its opinion on matters considered by the board during the meetings as long as order is maintained. Public comment shall be subject to reasonable rules established by the board and conformed to the agenda.


    Public participation is very important to the successful function of the Essex Westford School District. The board wants to carry out its business with the benefit of public input and expertise. It also wants to keep the public informed and up-to-date on what is happening in the community’s schools.


    Reasonable rules of participation may be used to insure that meetings are conducted in an orderly fashion and that the business at hand is completed in a timely manner. Such rules may take into consideration such things as length of each speaker’s presentation and the number of times each speaker may comment.

    Persons Who May Address the Board

    1. Any district resident
    1. School staff members, students and parents
    2. Individuals who have been requested by the superintendent or the board to present a given subject
    3. Persons who are directly affected by matters on the board agenda
    4. Others at the discretion of the board 

    Public Comment on Agenda Items

    1. The chair will ask for comments on agenda items before action is taken by the board.
    2. When the number of people wishing to speak is large, the board may authorize the chair to use a speakers' list. Members of the public will be given an opportunity to sign the speakers' list, indicating which agenda item will be addressed.

    Public Input on Items Not on the Agenda

    1. There will be time set aside for public input on items not on the agenda at every regular, special or emergency meeting of the board.
    2. The time allotted to this item will be assigned by the chair or the person responsible for organizing the agenda.
    3. The chair shall rule out of order any presentation to the board which breaches the privacy or other rights of students, parents or school employees, or which does not comply with Board policy on complaints


    Policy Code B22  -  Public Complaints

    Legal Reference(s):

    1 V.S.A. §§310 et seq. (Public meetings)


    16 V.S.A. §554 (b) (School board meetings)

    Cross Reference:

    Board Meetings Board Meeting Agenda Preparation and Distribution (A2)