Public Participation at Board Meetings


    Public Participation Guidelines



    Board meetings are conducted for the purpose of carrying on the official business of the school system.  The public is cordially invited to attend board meetings to observe the board as it conducts its official business. 


    Each month, the first part of the first regularly scheduled board meeting will be set aside for citizens to address the board through public comment.  Each speaker will receive five minutes to present comments; however, the public comment session will not exceed 30 minutes total except by majority vote of the board.  


    How to Sign Up

    Those wishing to sign up for public participation, must sign in using the "Invitation to Address the Board" form located at the table near the entrance to the regular Board of Education Meeting room. The form will be available starting at 5:20 pm and must be turned in to the superintendent or his/her designee at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the Board’s meeting or by 5:50 pm.  Speakers must be present to sign up. 


    General Process

    During the public comment period, the board chair will recognize speakers in the order in which they signed in.  Substitute speakers will not be permitted, and speakers may not donate any portion of their time to another speaker.  If a speaker is unable to present all of his or her information within the specified time limit, the speaker may provide the board with the additional information in written form.  If an unusually large number of people request to speak, a majority of the board may decide to reduce the time for each individual or to require the designation of a spokesperson for each group of persons supporting or opposing the same positions.   At any time, the board may establish additional procedures to ensure that public comment sessions proceed in an efficient and orderly manner.


    Comments should be courteous and respectful and be related to matters under the control of the Board of Education.  To give each speaker due respect, the Board will not tolerate willful interruptions, disruptions, or disturbances at the meeting.  Disruptions by any person or persons of a public meeting will be subject to action in accordance with G.S. 143-318.17.


    Any speaker who wishes to provide printed material to the Board must present the material to the Public Information Officer or his/her designee.  The materials will be made available to the Board members, staff, media, and interested attendees at the conclusion of the meeting. 


    Board members will not respond to individuals who address the board during the public comment period.  Board members will reserve any appropriate general acknowledgement or clarification for the board member comment period at the conclusion of the meeting.  


    Except in cases of emergency, information received during presentations will not be acted upon at the time it is received.  It will take a unanimous vote of the board members present to take action on a presentation considered to be of an unusual or emergency nature at the time it is presented.


    Speakers are asked to be respectful and refrain from personal attacks and insults directed at the Board, at individual Board members, staff, students, or members of the general public. 


    If the board does not hold a regular meeting during a month, the board will not provide a time for public comment at any other meeting held during that month, unless a majority of the board votes to allow public comment at the meeting or unless the purpose of the meeting is a public hearing.


    Reports of Complaints

    North Carolina law generally requires school districts to maintain the confidentiality of most personnel information.  Concerns related to personnel issues should first be addressed through the applicable Onslow County Board of Education policies. While the board encourages speakers to discuss issues and matters of concern, speakers are urged to refrain from discussing confidential student information. 


    The board urges all speakers who have complaints about the implementation of board policy, the quality of the educational program, or school facilities to initially submit their complaint to the school system official responsible for the program or facility or to the superintendent.


    We appreciate your cooperation and your interest as we all work together for positive outcomes with a firm commitment to public education in Onslow County.