By law, meetings of a majority of Board members are to be held in public, with an agenda published in advance. School Board meetings are generally on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month, but additional meetings may be added and time and dates could be changed. You should check the District’s Agenda Online system at http://sancarlos.csbaagendaonline.net to see a calendar of board meetings, agenda, and minutes. Also through Agenda Online, the public has access to the Board meeting presentations and materials.
Under certain circumstances, the Board may have a “closed” meeting, which could include topics such as personnel, labor negotiations, or legal matters. Closed sessions are not open to the public.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend, as well as speak at, any public School Board meeting.
Although there may be special meetings called with a different format, most public board meetings will follow a standard format:
- Call to Order
- Report from closed session (if applicable)
- Approval of Agenda
- Communication from members of the public on items not on the agenda
- Consent Agenda – a series of actions that they Board may approve “in bulk” – these tend to be items more administrative in nature. Board members may “pull” an item from the Consent Agenda to discuss and vote on separately
- Information/Presentations – Scheduled presentations from staff or invited guests
- Discussion Items – items for Board discussion for which there will be no specific Board vote, however a consensus of the Board may direct District Staff to do additional work or to bring a follow-up action item to the Board
- Action Items – items up for a vote by the Board – most items require a simple majority of Board members to pass
- Comments from Board Members, the Superintendent, and Employee Group representatives
- Agenda Setting – discussion of future agenda items and the meeting calendar
- Adjournment – by the Board President
- Closed Session (if applicable – may also happen before public session)
Public Participation at Board Meetings
School Board meetings are meetings of the Governing Board IN public, but are not meetings WITH the public. The District and Board seek to ensure that the public may exercise its right to be heard, surface issues, and follow resolution of such issues.
Members of the public are asked to speak only when recognized by the Board President. Any member of the public has the right to address the Board on any issue, even if that topic is not on the current agenda. However, if a public comment is about a matter not on the agenda, the Board is limited in its ability to respond to the speaker, as it is illegal for the Board to have a discussion around such topics. This would be a “back door” way of introducing agenda items without giving adequate notice to the public and would be a violation of the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law for public bodies.
Members of the public are asked to fill out a blue “speaking card” and give it to the Secretary of the meeting. Each public speaker shall limit his/her comments to three minutes, but is welcome to distribute any materials to staff and/or the Board.
For more detail about the structure of Board Meetings and the public’s role at meetings, please download the Guide to School Board Meetings.