The Union Recorder

Local News

October 9, 2013

BOE discusses ways to engage public dialogue

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County Board of Education is discussing possible ways to allow the public to engage more during its regular work sessions.

School Board Member Lyn Chandler, District 3, hopes his fellow board members get on board with his idea of allowing individuals to speak, ask questions and share thoughts in an informal time frame after each work session.

“I have a sense that the community as a whole would like to get involved to help improve the school system, and one way to do that is to provide an opportunity for community people to have open exchange in more of an informal way than what we have now,” Chandler said. “I agree with [Wes Cummings’, District 5] idea to have a window of time, maybe 30 minutes, immediately following each work session so people get to hear our discussions first and if a question comes to mind, then they have the opportunity to clarify.”

According to the school board’s current policy, a citizen wishing to speak regarding any issue has to make a written request to School Superintendent Geneva Braziel at least five days prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. If the matter is applicable for the board’s consideration, the superintendent can approve the request. Persons who request the opportunity to speak cannot exceed five minutes, and the school board is not allowed to provide an immediate response during the meeting. The superintendent replies to the person’s concerns or questions in a timely manner via phone or in a written format.

“I am convinced that we need to do better job with communicating with the public. We’ve got to open up lines of communication with the public,” Chandler said. “It’s critical we do everything we possibly can to engage the public ... and if we want economic growth and development in the community, I think that’s essential.”

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