Hardee requests amended policy

Citizen concerns could be deleted from agendas

POLICY UPDATE - School board chairman, Phillip Hardee, is requesting the board consider changing a policy that gives citizens the right to address the board on agenda items.

POLICY UPDATE – School board chairman, Phillip Hardee, is requesting the board consider changing a policy that gives citizens the right to address the board on agenda items.

by Danny Wade

Once again school board members are attempting to censor the public when it comes to the education. A drastic change to one board policy would take someone’s voice from being heard regarding any item on the meeting’s agenda.

Newly elected school board chairman, Phillip Hardee, is requesting the board consider a revision of Board Policy 1.404.

A failed attempt to change this policy took place last year when board member Leon McNeal and former board chairman Terry Johnson voted to scratch certain text from the policy. Board members Chuck Samples and Lee Williams voted to keep the policy as is with no changes. Hardee did not attend that meeting, so the policy change was not approved, needing three votes for a majority.

This text will be deleted from policy 1.404 if approved.

“If an individual wishes to address the Board on an item on the agenda, s/he may sign up on the form provided before the beginning of the board meeting to request time to speak. Delegations must select only one individual to speak on their behalf unless otherwise determined by the Board. The chairman may recognize individuals not on the agenda for remarks to the Board if s/he determines that such is in the public interest. A majority vote of members present can overrule the decision of the chairman.”

All policy updates require two readings. The first reading is on the board agenda and will be held Thursday night at the February school board meeting. No vote is taken on the first reading. The second reading will have a vote, which would be taken at the board’s March 9 meeting.

If approved, citizens, parents, students, anyone will no longer be able to speak on items on that meeting’s agenda without making a request 10 days prior to the meeting. The school board agenda is not finalized and made public until the Friday prior to the meeting.

Hardee had stated in past board meetings that the text was added by former school board member, Thomas “Red” Porter. Porter always wanted the public to have their voices be heard.

Porter did not seek re-election. He now serves as president of the Humboldt/Gibson County Chapter of the NAACP.

Since Hardee did not attend the meeting when the policy change failed and he is now the one pushing for the change, one could assume the board would have the needed three votes.

But until the board passes the second reading, the public can have their voices heard for two more meetings if they sign the request sheet prior to the meeting.

Thursday night’s school board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the HJSHS library.

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