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GASD updates policy on public comments at meetings

Responding in part to the increase in the number of people wishing to address it, the Gettysburg Area School district has proposed changes to its policies about public comments during its meetings.

Board President Kenneth Hassinger said the goal was to “put into writing some of the processes we had in place this fall.” Hassinger said the goal of the new policy was not to inhibit discussion but to provide transparency about the policies.

The complete document explaining the proposed changes is here.

The proposed policy states that 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” and that it will continue to provide a period for public participation at every open meeting.

The proposed policy continues to require speakers to register their intent to speak in advance, along with their name and address, and sets the maximum time limit for each presentation at 4 minutes.

If members of the public do not get a chance to speak based on time limits, those speakers may submit their comment in writing, and they will be summarized and included in the official board minutes.

The board reserves the right to request any individual leave the meeting when that person does not observe “reasonable decorum.”

Only school district residents, people who own property within the school district, or those who are current district employees can speak.

Board members said they had been pleased, overall, with the way public commenters had handled themselves over the past weeks, calling the process “civil” and “respectful.”

The board is expected to move back to meeting in its boardroom in the Administrative Building at its next meeting on Nov 2.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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