Submitted by Eddie Warner
Members of our community who have been complaining about how the CUSD Trustees receive their public comments need to educate themselves. In California, meetings for Boards, Commissions, and Councils are governed by the Brown Act, to promote public participation and transparency. CUSD Trustee meetings are required to comply with the Brown Act procedures. The protocols for running a meeting under the Brown Act are very clear.
Any member of the public may make a 3-minute statement on any topic they feel is relevant, either in the allotted time for general comments, or as each agenda item comes up. When their 3 minutes has ended, they are expected to yield the mic to the next speaker. If they continue speaking past their limit the Board president asks them to stop, out of respect for others who wish to speak. If the speaker still refuses to yield the mic, the president is forced to resort to the gavel to keep order. Speakers who will not abide by the 3-minute rule are disrespectful and rude to the Board members, other speakers, and all other audience members.
A Board cannot lawfully discuss or make decisions on any item unless it has been listed on the agenda in advance of the meeting. This protects the public from the Board taking actions without giving advance notice that a topic will be addressed. If a member of the public makes a statement about a topic that is not on the agenda, the Board is allowed to receive their comment, but is prohibited by law from taking action or even discussing the topic. It seems the complainers are expecting the CUSD Board to violate the law.
In summary, if you want your input to be taken seriously, show respect for the process and all the other people in the room. Loud and disruptive bullying tactics will not earn anyone’s respect. Don’t portray the school board as unfair and disrespectful while you violate the protocols that govern all Boards, Commissions and Councils in our community and across the state.