School board public comment procedures set


With the Hastings School Board expected this week to vote to return public comment to the agenda of their regular monthly board meetings, those intending to speak before the board will have to follow guidelines.
Board Chair Carrie Tate said that following a vote expected at the Wednesday, March 27 meeting, ISD #200 residents will be once again able to provide public comment during meetings. A previous board voted in August 2021 to move to a listening session format prior to board meetings.
Effective the April 24 meeting, new procedures will be put in place and a form must be filled out and emailed back to the district or delivered to the district office at 10000 W 11th St. by 8 a.m. the day prior to the board meeting.
The new procedures reviewed by the board state:
“The public comment portion of a board meeting is an opportunity for residents to address the board. The board values this opportunity to listen to residents and get their input on matters important to our school district. To ensure an orderly meeting and to comply with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, which classifies information about students and employees as private data, please be aware of the following:
● You must have a direct connection to Independent School District 200, such as being a
parent/guardian of a student in attendance, a taxpayer, a business owner in the local
community, an employee of the district, or having another clear connection to the district, in
order to provide public comments to the school board;
● The public comment portion of the meeting is limited to a maximum of five speakers;
● Each individual speaker is limited to three minutes;
● After being recognized by the board chair, each speaker will identify themselves/the group
they represent, if any. (If you are part of a group that plans to speak on a topic, we ask that
you designate one individual to speak on the topic, so other residents have an opportunity to
be heard on other topics);
● Public comment is not the place to address matters or complaints about specific students or
staff. Please reference Policy 103 for the appropriate method to be heard on those matters or
bring concerns to District personnel, such as the building principal or superintendent.
● Public comment is a valuable listening session. Board members may not directly respond to
issues raised by a speaker at the board meeting, but they may ask clarifying questions.
Individuals are always welcome to schedule an appointment with individual board members
to follow-up on matters raised during public comment.”
In the form prospective speakers must fill out, they are asked if they plan to comment on an agenda item and which one and whether they have contacted district personnel about the topic. Speakers must agree to the following:
“•I will be respectful while addressing the board and will not engage in slanderous language or
character assassination;
● I will not disclose any private information, which includes student or personnel complaints or
matters specific to students or staff, even without naming such person(s);
● I will use language that is not in violation of FCC rules, as the meeting may be broadcasted and recorded;
● I will conduct myself in an acceptable manner and I understand that the board chair will rule
me out of order and I will lose the remainder of my time, if I violate these procedures; and
● I understand that continued or repeat violations of the procedures outlined on this form may
result in my loss of privilege to address the school board during public comments at future
board meetings.”