The Columbia Board of Education will vote on the public speaking policy; safety and COVID-19 also on the agenda


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The Columbia Board of Education holds its first meeting of the school year on Monday evening, and the agenda includes topics such as changes to the board’s public speaking policy, security upgrades and plans COVID-19.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Columbia Public School Administration building on W. Worley St.

The council will vote on whether to change the public speaking policy, a proposal that some say could discourage community participation in meetings.

Policy changes could limit the number of people and how often people can speak during public comments.

The board made changes to the originally proposed revisions, including adding a 30-minute total time limit for the comment period. The council also made changes to the policy for those who wish to register to speak during public comments. The policy now states that those wishing to speak to the council must “register in advance or up to the time of the meeting”.

Comments will still be limited to 3 minutes and the new policy limits comments to 10 people per meeting. Comments should be directly related to the topic of the discussion and no substitute speakers are allowed.

The district said the changes reflect new laws passed by the state legislature in the last session. The district also wants its public consultation process to align more with what other government agencies, such as the Columbia City Council, are doing.

Under the policy, if someone comments at three consecutive meetings, they are not allowed to comment at the next two meetings.

The Board will also undertake to update its COVID-19 Policy as required by federal law and security additions including a lock button in one of the high schools and the installation of security films on the windows of some colleges.

Check back for updates after the meeting.


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