Greater Johnstown School District

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Public Participation at Board Meetings

The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Directors meet on a monthly basis.  Please click on the link titled Meeting Notices to view the meeting dates, times and locations. During this time, two meetings are conducted.  They are:  

  • Committee Meeting
  • Regular Board Meeting

The Board recognizes the value to school governance of public comment on educational issues and the importance of involving members of the public in Board meetings.  The Board also recognizes its responsibility for proper governance of the district and the need to conduct its business in an orderly and efficient manner.  The Public Participation segment of the meeting is for citizen comments - not for question-answer discussion or debate. The School Board is not obligated to respond, comment or vote on issues arising from public participation. Groups should identify a single spokesperson so that repetition is avoided.


Under state law, the Board has the option to accept all public comment on agenda items at the beginning of the meeting, rather than before the vote on each individual agenda item. 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 710.1.  These comments will be heard during the beginning of the committee meeting, regular board meeting, and special board meetings as determined by the Board President.  Public comments on non-agenda items may be held until the end of the board meeting, and may be limited where clearly appropriate. See e.g. Baravordeh v. Borough Council of Prospect Park, 706 A.2d 362 (Pa. Cwmlth.1998).

 

The Board has established guidelines to govern public participation in Board meetings necessary to conduct its meeting and to maintain order.  Please refer to Board policy # 903, Public Participation in Board Meetings.

 

Prior to the review of board committees, the Board shall utilize the following sequence of speakers prior to the start of the committee meeting:

  1. Student Representatives presenting building reports as identified by building administration.
  2. Agencies, Individuals, students, teachers, and organizations invited by Board of Directors and/or Administration to speak on a particular subject.  
  3. Individual Principal Reports
  4. Public comment

 

Public participation shall be permitted only as indicated on the order of business and at the discretion of the presiding officer on a given issue.  After visitors have been heard and the Board has begun deliberations, no comments or questions shall be permitted from the floor. There will be a period of up to thirty (30) minutes set aside for public participation.  If the Board determines there is not sufficient time at a meeting for public comments, the comment period may be deferred to the next regular meeting or to a special meeting occurring before the next regular meeting.


The presiding officer, the board president, at each public Board meeting shall follow Board policy for the conduct of public meetings. Students under the age of 18 should have a parent present when speaking. Those individuals wishing to provide public comments must conduct themselves in a civil manner.   Failure to do so will result in immediate action by the presiding officer.  

 

Community residents, parents and guardians are encouraged to follow the chain of command and start at the building level when encountering an issue.  This means starting with the teacher and administrator first in order to provide the building level an opportunity to resolve matter.  Please refer to the bottom of this page on how you can address a concern, questions or issue.

  

All persons wishing to participate in a public Board meeting shall register their intent with the Board Secretary five (5) days prior to the day of the public meeting and include the name and address of the participant; group affiliation, if appropriate; topic; and a list of questions to be raised.  

 

In an effort for all to be heard, comments will be limited to three (3) minutes per individual, and will be monitored by the Board Secretary.  During special public hearings or meetings where many people wish to comment, the presiding officer shall determine the maximum length of time each person may speak.

All statements shall be directed to the presiding officer; no participant may address or question Board members individually.  Personal attacks will not be permitted during the meeting.

 

The presiding officer may:
  • Interrupt or terminate a participant's statement when the statement is too lengthy, personally directed, abusive, obscene, or irrelevant.
  • Request any individual to leave the meeting when that person does not observe reasonable decorum.
  • Request the assistance of law enforcement officers to remove a disorderly person when his/her conduct interferes with the orderly progress of the meeting.
  • Call a recess or adjourn to another time when the lack of public decorum interferes with the orderly conduct of the meeting.
  • Waive these rules with the approval of the Board.

Electronic recording devices and cameras, in addition to those used as official recording devices, shall be permitted at public meetings under guidelines established by the Board.  All video cameras and recording devices will have a designated space from which to film/record.  If you are using a cell phone to record, you must film from the same area as video cameras.  Failure to adhere to this space will result the individual and/or organization to leave the meeting.

No placards or banners will be permitted within the meeting room.

 

The meeting agenda shall be made available to the public at all special and regular meetings.
How Do I Sign Up for Public Comments?
 
If you wish to speak at a board meeting.  Please click on the file below and complete it.  Once fully completed, send it to Mrs. Crystal Hasselbauer at chasselbauer@gjsd.net or deliver it to the Central Admin Offices located at 1091 Broad Street.  Requests to speak are NOT accepted via phone calls.  
 

How to Communicate a Question or Concern

The Board of Directors recognize there are times when a parent, resident, taxpayer, or employee may have a question, concern, complaint, suggestion or request and is uncertain as to the procedure to follow in contacting the school district.  Many parental questions are easily and completely answered by communicating directly with the educator in charge of the class or program.  Communication is key in solving any problem.  Please do all you can to effectively communicate with the teacher and/or individual to gather the complete story.  Your child’s success is our main goal, and we  are here to work together to achieve this goal.  


Listed below is a flowchart / chain of command that should be of assistance when addressing an issue.  Each situation should be addressed at whatever level the initial action was taken with appeals moving on to the next level on the chain of command.  Please visit our website staff directory for contact information.


To ensure the most timely resolution to your concern and/or question, first contact the teacher, counselor or principal so that he or she can respond without any undue delay.  The Board of Directors create policy, it is the responsibility of the administration and professional staff to execute those policies.