From Brookline School Committee’s Policy Manual
Section B. BOARD GOVERNANCE
4. School Committee Meetings
Public Comment and Participation at School Committee Meetings:
School Committee meetings are conducted in accordance with the Massachusetts Open
Meeting Law, G.L. c. 39, s. 23B. In addition, the School Committee believes that the
public should have an opportunity to comment to the Committee on issues that affect the
school district and are within the scope of the Committee's responsibilities. Therefore the
Committee has set aside a period of time at each School Committee meeting to hear from
If the Committee believes that an issue requires a broader dialogue with the public, the
Committee may schedule a separate public hearing on that issue.
Public Comment is not a discussion, debate, or dialogue between or among citizens and
the School Committee. Rather, it is intended to offer citizens an opportunity to express
their opinion on issues of School Committee business. While the Committee and/or
administrators will not typically respond to citizen comments or questions posed at Public
Comment, the Chair, as presiding officer of the meeting, may answer or request an
answer to a question if s/he deems it expeditious. Further, should the Chair believe that
an issue or question falls outside the purview of the School Committee, s/he may request
that citizens direct it to the appropriate person or body so that the matter is given proper
The following process will govern Public Comment and participation at the School
The School Committee will have a 15-minute Public Comment section at each School
Committee meeting, which shall generally follow the opening of the meeting, according
to the following guidelines:
M.G.L c. 39, s. 23C provides, in relevant part, that: “No person shall address a public
meeting of a governmental body without permission of the presiding officer at such
meeting, and all persons shall, at the request of the presiding officer, be silent.” The
School Committee Chair, as presiding officer, will favor those speakers who sign up in
advance under the procedure specified below.
1. A sign-up sheet will be available as people enter the meeting, and people will
speak in the order they sign up, unless more than one person wishes to speak on a
single topic, in which case the Chair may call on them together.
2. Any person wishing to speak must identify him or herself by name and address,
and specific interest for wishing to speak. The Chair will favor, in no particular
order, those speakers who are Brookline residents or, in appropriate circumstances, a
Town of Brookline employee, parent, or guardian of a Public Schools of Brookline
student, or any Public Schools of Brookline student.
3. There will be a time limit of 5 minutes per person, which will be enforced by the
Chair of the meeting. If the number of people wishing to speak exceeds 3, the Chair
may, at his/her discretion, limit individual comments to no more than 3 minutes per
person. In addition, parents/guardians of children attending the Public Schools of
Brookline and Brookline residents shall be given priority.
4. The amount of time allocated for the session will be a maximum of 15
5. The session will be held at a regular time agreed to by the School
6. Discussion of individual personnel issues will be prohibited.
7. Votes by the School Committee will not be taken during Public Comment.
8. Responses to concerns will be made only by the Superintendent or
Chair of the meeting, or other members, at the Chair's discretion.
9. On those issues that can be resolved by directing citizens to the appropriate staff, the
Superintendent or Chair will advise the citizen of appropriate steps to take.
10. The Chair of the meeting may terminate any individual’s privilege of address for
inappropriate conduct or statement.
Participation Regarding Docketed Items:
In addition to the Public Comment section at each meeting, the public is invited to remain
for the whole meeting and may be invited to speak on any docketed issue, at the
discretion of the Chair. Should the Chair invite comments on docketed items, s/he will
request that citizens in attendance who wish to speak signify as such by raising their
Originally approved: 1/26/93, #93-29. Amended: 4/27/93, #93-115; 9/27/94, # 94-80.
Revision approved by Brookline School Committee: 11/3/05, #05-122