The Platteville School Board is considering changes to how its meetings are conducted after the school district’s annual meeting Aug. 22.
One change in the proposed policy would limit meetings’ public comment periods to items on that meeting’s agenda. Public comment would be limited to 15 minutes total, and three minutes per speaker.
The longest public comment periods during school board meetings over the past two years have been over the non-renewal of athletic coaches, former volleyball coach Yvette Updike in 2014 and former girls basketball and softball coach Jim Lawinger in 2015.
School board members discussed July 12 who would be allowed to speak at meetings. Board member Eric Fatzinger proposed allowing comments by “parents/guardians, electors/residents,” and “regular employees of the district,” not including substitute teachers, who are not contracted employees, unlike full- or part-time teachers.
“We value them enough to give them a paycheck,” said board member Heather Connolly.
Another change would institute a consent agenda similar to what the Platteville Common Council uses for issues “routine in nature” or “not likely to require discussion or explanation.” As with Common Council meetings, consent agenda items could be pulled for separate votes.
Fatzinger’s amendment passed 5–4. The first reading of the policy passed 7–2, with Connolly and board member Josh Grabandt opposed.
While comments would not be allowed for non-agenda items, items can be added to the agenda for future meetings toward the end of each school board meeting. School board members wouldn’t make comments during the public input period; their comments would be during a “recognitions” section just before public input or in bringing up agenda items for future meetings.
The school board switched to a new committee structure in August, following discussion at two board retreats. The board’s Policy and Risk Management, Personnel and Finance, and Program and Property committees are being replaced by Program, Community Outreach and Policy, and Operations committees. The Operations Committee meets Monday at 6 p.m. before the regular school board meeting. The other two new committees meet the first Monday of the month.