Members of the Massena Central School Board Call for a Change in the Public Consultation Period During Meetings | Education

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MASSENA – A change in the agenda could be in preparation for the meetings of the Massena Central school board.

Board member David LaClair Jr. suggested allowing public comment at the start of the meeting so that if issues arise they can be discussed by the board.

A public comment period is currently offered at the end of meetings, which typically range from approximately one hour and 30 minutes to two hours. The final meeting, which included a public hearing on the District Safety Plan, an update on the District Capital Project, and updates from Superintendent Patrick Brady, lasted approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes. A public comment period was added to the agenda for the last board meeting immediately following Mr. Brady’s presentation on reopening schools.

Mr. LaClair wondered if they could regularly allow people to comment before the meeting.

“Are there ways to maybe consider realigning the way meetings are organized? ” He asked.

He said he had seen several instances since being a board member where the public wanted to speak, but had to wait until the meeting was over.

“The board usually doesn’t respond to the individual. However, their comments can play a bigger role in our discussion before than after. So maybe there’s something we could consider revamping when it started out as a public comment session, ”said LaClair.

If anyone showed up after the first public comment session, they could make their comments at the last session after the meeting.

“I just want to get people to think about this specific problem,” he said.

Board chairman Paul Haggett said a discussion was warranted.

“I was actually going to talk about it. There has been a lot of media coverage of meetings that got out of hand for a variety of reasons, mostly related to COVID and so on. But to sort of mitigate some of that… ”he said.

“… and to give the public more opportunities than we actually have to discuss their comments,” said Mr. LaClair.

Vice-chair of the board, Amber Baines, said she would also like to discuss the length of meetings.

“I’m all for three-and-a-half to four-hour meetings every time, but maybe there are ways to streamline some of the things that are presented, the data that we get and things like that. “she said. noted.

“Another thing we’re working on is actually bringing our architects and engineers here for a face-to-face meeting rather than doing it over the phone, which I personally don’t like,” Haggett said.

He suggested they could discuss the recommendations further at their September meeting.

“I think I would like to have a little open debate at another meeting,” he said.

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