Having a portion of your board meeting devoted to public participation is encouraged, and is something most boards do at every regular meeting. However, public participation is not a required component of the board meeting. Encouraging members of your school community to attend board meetings and to participate is a valuable way to build a larger group of informed supporters.
All members of the board should be familiar with any board policy concerning public participation that exists within their district. Your board may wish to have a set of guidelines reflective of your district's public participation policy available to guests and the media when they arrive at your meeting.
While it is important to let the public be heard, set a definite time limit for public participation, as well as for each individual's comments. It is not a requirement for board members or for the board as a whole to respond during public participation. A board or board member should not feel pressured to react or to take action as a direct result of public participation.
Board members should thank participants for their interest and involvement. They can suggest that the matters will be considered or studied further and perhaps turned over to the superintendent for further action or recommendation at a later meeting.