Policy – x
Adopted – 7/16/1998
Revised – 11/12/2009
All Governing Board meetings shall begin on time and shall be guided by an agenda prepared in accordance with Board bylaws and posted and distributed in accordance the Ralph M. Brown Act (open meeting requirements) and other applicable laws.
The Board believes that late night meetings deter public participation, can affect the Board’s decision-making ability, and can be a burden to staff. Regular Board meetings shall be adjourned by 10:00 p.m. unless extended to a specific time determined by a majority of the Board. The meeting shall be extended no more than once and may be adjourned to a later date.
A majority of the number of filled positions on the Board constitutes a quorum. (Education Code 5095, 35165)
Unless otherwise provided by law, affirmative votes by a majority of all the membership of the Board are required to approve any action under consideration, regardless of the number of members present. (Education Code 35164)
If a vacancy exists on the Board, whenever any provisions of the Education Code require unanimous action of all or a specific number of the members, the vacant position(s) shall be not be counted for purposes of determining the total membership constituting the Board. (Education Code 35165)
The Board believes that when no conflict of interest requires abstention, its members have a duty to vote on issues before them. When a member abstains, his/her abstention shall not be counted for purposes of determining whether a majority of the membership of the Board has taken action.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend Board meetings and to address the Board concerning any item on the agenda or within the Board’s jurisdiction. So as not to inhibit public participation, persons attending Board meetings shall not be requested to sign in, complete a questionnaire, or otherwise provide their name or other information as a condition of attending the meeting. (GC 54953.3)
In order to conduct District business in an orderly and efficient manner, the Board requires that public presentations to the Board comply with the following procedures: (EC 35145.5)
1. The Board shall give members of the public an opportunity to address the Board on any item of interest to the public that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board, either before or during the Board’s consideration of the item. (Education Code 35145.5, Government Code 54954.3)
2. At a time so designated on the agenda at a regular meeting, members of the public may bring before the Board matters that are not listed on the agenda. The Board shall take no action or discussion on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except as authorized by law. (Education Code 35145.5, Government Code 54954.2)
3. Without taking action, Board members or District staff members may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by the public about items not appearing on the agenda. Additionally, on their own initiative or in response to questions posed by the public, a Board or staff member may ask a question for clarification, make a brief announcement, or make a brief report on his/her own activities. (Government Code 54954.2)
Furthermore, the Board or a Board member may provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, ask staff to report back to the Board at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action directing staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda. (Government Code 54954.2)
4. The Board need not allow the public to speak on any item that has already been considered by a committee composed exclusively of Board members at a public meeting where the public had the opportunity to address the committee on that item. However, if the Board determines that the item has been substantially changed since the committee heard it, the Board shall provide an opportunity for the public to speak. (Government Code 54954.3)
5. A person wishing to be heard by the Board shall first be recognized by the president and shall then proceed to comment as briefly as the subject permits.
Individual speakers shall be allowed three minutes to address the Board on each agenda or non-agenda item. The Board shall limit the total time for public input on each item to 20 minutes. With Board consent, the president may increase or decrease the time allowed for public presentation, depending on the topic and the number of persons wishing to be heard. The president may take a poll of speakers for or against a particular issue and may ask that additional persons speak only if they have something new to add. (GC 54954.3)
6. The Board president may rule on the appropriateness of a topic. If the topic would be more suitably addressed at a later time, the president may indicate the time and place when it should be presented.
The Board shall not prohibit public criticism of its policies, procedures, programs, services, acts or omissions. (Government Code 54954.3) In addition, the Board may not prohibit public criticism of District employees.
Whenever a member of the public initiates specific complaints or charges against an employee, the Board president shall inform the complainant that in order to protect the employee’s right to adequate notice before a hearing of such complaints and charges, and also to preserve the ability of the Board to legally consider the complaints or charges in any subsequent evaluation of the employee, it is the policy of the Board to hear such complaints or charges in closed session unless otherwise requested by the employee pursuant to Government Code 54957. The Board president shall also encourage the complainant to file a complaint using the appropriate district complaint procedure.
7. The Board president shall not permit any disturbance or willful interruption of Board meetings. Persistent disruption by an individual or group shall be grounds for the chair to terminate the privilege of addressing the Board.
The Board may remove disruptive individuals and order the room cleared if necessary; in this case, members of the media not participating in the disturbance shall be allowed to remain, and individual(s) not participating in such disturbances may be allowed to remain at the discretion of the Board. When the room is ordered cleared due to a disturbance, further Board proceedings shall concern only matters appearing on the agenda. When such disruptive conduct occurs, the Superintendent or designee shall contact local law enforcement. (GC 54957.9) (EC 32210).
8. The goal of the Board is to have decisions made by consensus. If consensus is not possible, then decisions will be made by majority vote. Both majority and minority positions may be reported or recorded.
Recording by the Public
The Superintendent or designee shall designate locations from which members of the public may broadcast, photograph or tape record open meetings without causing a distraction. (GC 54953.5)
If the Board finds that noise, illumination or obstruction of view related to these activities would persistently disrupt the proceedings, these activities shall be discontinued or restricted as determined by the Board. (Government Code 54953.5, 54953.6)
5095 Powers of remaining board members and new appointees
32210 Willful disturbance of public school or meeting a misdemeanor
35010 Prescription and enforcement of rules
35145.5 Agenda; public participation; regulations
35163 Official actions, minutes and journal
35164 Vote requirements
35165 Effect of vacancies upon majority and unanimous votes by seven member board
54953.5 Audio or video tape recording of proceedings
54953.6 Broadcasting of proceedings
54954.2 Agenda; posting; action on other matters
54954.3 Opportunity for public to address legislative body; regulations
54957 Closed sessions
54957.9 Disorderly conduct of general public during meeting; clearing of room
403 Disruption of assembly or meeting
McMahon v. Albany Unified School District, (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 1275
Rubin v. City of Burbank, (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1194
Baca v. Moreno Valley Unified School District, (1996) 936 F.Supp. 719
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS
76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 281 (1993)
66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 336 (1983)
63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 215 (1980)
61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 243, 253 (1978)
55 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 26 (1972)
59 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 532 (1976)
The Brown Act: School Boards and Open Meeting Laws, rev. 2005
Board Presidents’ Handbook, rev. 2002
Maximizing School Board Governance: Boardsmanship
ATTORNEY GENERAL PUBLICATIONS
The Brown Act: Open Meetings for Legislative Bodies, 2003
California Attorney General’s Office: http://www.caag.state.ca.us
CSBA Date – 10/97