Want to speak out at board meeting? Here's how to share your thoughts Monday with Sumter school trustees

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 2/10/19

Do you want to voice your opinion to Sumter School District's nine-member Board of Trustees about the potential reopening of Mayewood Middle School or other facets of the public education system?

Your next chance is Monday. The outset of the …

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Want to speak out at board meeting? Here's how to share your thoughts Monday with Sumter school trustees

Posted

Do you want to voice your opinion to Sumter School District's nine-member Board of Trustees about the potential reopening of Mayewood Middle School or other facets of the public education system?

Your next chance is Monday. The outset of the board's regularly scheduled monthly meeting at 6 p.m. in the media center at Furman Middle School, 3400 Bethel Church Road, features time for public participation. According to the agenda, the full board may vote later in the meeting on the reopening of the middle school after it voted to close it just last school year.

There is a process residents must follow to publicly speak to the trustees and interim superintendent, according to the school board's policy manual.

Steps to take to speak at public participation

Those who wish to participate and offer input must do two things before the start of the meeting, according to Shelly Galloway, the district's executive director of communication and community engagement.

There is a meeting sign-in sheet that all attendees must sign to register their attendance before board meetings. To participate in public participation, an individual must place a check mark in the public participation column on that sheet.

Next, an individual must complete a public input notecard with his or her name, address and other information so the board can respond in writing after the meeting, Galloway said.

Those steps must be taken before the 6 p.m. open-session meeting start time.

"Some people think they can come directly into the meeting and speak in public participation, but they do have to sign up in advance," Galloway said.

Monday's meeting sign-in sheet and public input cards will be available starting at 5 p.m. at the sign-in table in the media center, she said.

According to the board policy manual, speakers may offer objective comments on school/district operations and programs that concern them. The manual also states comments that include any direct personal attacks by name about a specific school personnel member or any other particular person connected with the school system are not allowed.

The board allocates 15 minutes to public participation, according to policy, and an individual is generally limited to three minutes to speak. When many people sign up for public participation, the total time on the agenda may be extended and, in the past, individuals have been limited to two minutes each.

Any decisions on format changes would be made by the board once they know how many people have signed up Monday night, Galloway said.

The manual also states the board chairman reserves the right to limit discussion on same-topic issues, if necessary, in an effort to provide individuals the opportunity to be heard on a variety of topics.

Change to agenda

On Friday afternoon, the board made one change to Monday's agenda: adding an executive session. That meeting behind closed doors will occur after the discussion on reopening Mayewood to include costs associated with the change and before the trustees return to take any possible action on the matter. The agenda states the board will receive legal advice from its attorneys during the closed session.

Want to go?

WHAT: Sumter School Board meeting

WHEN: Monday, 6 p.m.

WHERE: Furman Middle School media center, 3400 Bethel Church Road