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Novato USD |  BB  9323  Board Bylaws

Meeting Conduct   

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Meeting Procedures

All Board of Education meetings shall begin on time and shall be guided by an agenda prepared in accordance with Board bylaws and posted and distributed in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act (open meeting requirements) and other applicable laws.

(cf. 9322 - Agenda/Meeting Materials)

The Board president shall conduct Board meetings in accordance with Board bylaws and procedures that enable the Board to efficiently consider issues and carry out the will of the majority.

(cf. 9121 - President)

The Board believes that late night meetings deter public participation, can affect the Board's decision-making ability, and can be a burden to staff. Regular Board meetings shall be adjourned at 10:00 p.m. unless extended to a specific time determined by a majority of the Board. The meeting shall be extended no more than once and may be adjourned to a later date.

(cf. 9320 - Meetings and Notices)

Quorum and Abstentions

The Board shall act by majority vote of all of the membership constituting the Board. (Education Code 35164)

(cf. 9323.2 - Actions by the Board)

The Board believes that when no conflict of interest requires abstention, its members have a duty to vote on issues before them. When a member abstains, his/her abstention shall not be counted for purposes of determining whether a majority of the membership of the Board has taken action.

(cf. 9270 - Conflict of Interest)

Provided the Board typically has seven members and there are no more than two vacancies on the Board, the vacant position(s) shall not be counted for purposes of determining how many members of the Board constitute a majority. In addition, whenever any provisions of the Education Code require unanimous action of all or a specific number of the members, the vacant position(s) shall be not be counted for purposes of determining the total membership constituting the Board. (Education Code 35165)

Public Participation

Members of the public are encouraged to attend Board meetings and to address the Board concerning any item on the agenda or within the Board's jurisdiction. So as not to inhibit public participation, persons attending Board meetings shall not be requested to sign in, complete a questionnaire, or otherwise provide their name or other information as a condition of attending the meeting.

In order to conduct district business in an orderly and efficient manner, the Board requires that public presentations to the Board comply with the following procedures:

1. The Board shall give members of the public an opportunity to address the Board on any item of interest to the public that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board, either before or during the Board's consideration of the item. (Education Code 35145.5, Government Code 54954.3)

2. At a time so designated on the agenda, members of the public may bring before the Board, at a regular meeting, matters that are not listed on the agenda. The Board shall take no action or discussion on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except as allowed by law. (Education Code 35145.5, Government Code 54954.2)

3. Without taking action, Board members or district staff members may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by the public about items not appearing on the agenda. Additionally, on their own initiative or in response to questions posed by the public, a Board or staff member may ask a question for clarification, make a brief announcement, or make a brief report on his/her own activities. (Government Code 54954.2)

Furthermore, the Board or a Board member may provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, ask staff to report back to the Board at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action directing staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda. (Government Code 54954.2)

4. The Board need not allow the public to speak on any item that has already been considered by a committee composed exclusively of Board members at a public meeting where the public had the opportunity to address the committee on that item. However, if the Board determines that the item has been substantially changed since the committee heard the item, the Board shall provide an opportunity for the public to speak. (Government Code 54954.3)

(cf. 9130 - Board Committees)

5. A person wishing to be heard by the Board shall first be recognized by the president and shall then proceed to comment as briefly as the subject permits.

Individual speakers shall be allowed three minutes to address the Board on each agenda or nonagenda item. The Board shall limit the total time for public input on each item to 20 minutes. With Board consent, the president may increase or decrease the time allowed for public presentation, depending on the topic and the number of persons wishing to be heard. The president may take a poll of speakers for or against a particular issue and may ask that additional persons speak only if they have something new to add.

In order to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to directly address the Board, any member of the public who utilizes a translator shall be provided at least twice the allotted time to address the Board, unless simultaneous translation equipment is used to allow the Board to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously. (Government Code 54954.3)

6. The Board president may rule on the appropriateness of a topic subject to the following conditions:

a. If the topic would be suitably addressed at a later time, the president may indicate the time and place when it should be presented.

b. The Board shall not prohibit public criticism of its policies, procedures, programs, services, acts or omissions. (Government Code 54954.3)

c. The Board shall not prohibit public criticism of district employees.

However, whenever a member of the public initiates specific complaints or charges against an individual employee, the Board president shall inform the complainant of the appropriate complaint procedure.

(cf. 1312.1 - Complaints Concerning District Employees)

(cf. 9321 - Closed Session Purposes and Agendas)

7. The Board president shall not permit any disturbance or willful interruption of Board meetings. Persistent disruption by an individual or group or any conduct or statements that threaten the safety of any person(s) at the meeting shall be grounds for the president to terminate the privilege of addressing the Board. The Board may remove disruptive individuals and order the room cleared if necessary; in this case, members of the media not participating in the disturbance shall be allowed to remain, and individual(s) not participating in such disturbances may be allowed to remain at the discretion of the Board. When the room is ordered cleared due to a disturbance, further Board proceedings shall concern only matters appearing on the agenda. (Government Code 54957.9)

(cf. 9324 - Minutes and Recordings)

When such disruptive conduct occurs, the Superintendent or designee shall contact local law enforcement as necessary.

Recording by the Public

Members of the public may record an open Board meeting using an audio or video recorder, still or motion picture camera, cell phone, or other device, provided that the noise, illumination, or obstruction of view does not persistently disrupt the meeting. The Superintendent or designee may designate locations from which members of the public may make such recordings without causing a distraction.

(cf. 9324 - Board Minutes and Recordings)

If the Board finds that noise, illumination or obstruction of view related to these activities would persistently disrupt the proceedings, these activities shall be discontinued or restricted as determined by the Board. (Government Code 54953.5, 54953.6)

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

5095 Powers of remaining board members and new appointees

32210 Willful disturbance of public school or meeting a misdemeanor

35010 Prescription and enforcement of rules

35145.5 Agenda; public participation; regulations

35163 Official actions, minutes and journal

35164 Vote requirements

35165 Effect of vacancies upon majority and unanimous votes by seven member board

CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE

527.8 Workplace Violence Safety Act

GOVERNMENT CODE

54953.3 Prohibition against conditions for attending a board meeting

54953.5 Audio or video recording of proceedings

54953.6 Broadcasting of proceedings

54954.2 Agenda; posting; action on other matters

54954.3 Opportunity for public to address legislative body; regulations

54957 Closed sessions

54957.9 Disorderly conduct of general public during meeting; clearing of room

PENAL CODE

403 Disruption of assembly or meeting

COURT DECISIONS

City of San Jose v. Garbett, (2010) 190 Cal.App.4th 526

Norse v. City of Santa Cruz, (9th Cir. 2010) 629 F3d 966

McMahon v. Albany Unified School District, (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 1275

Rubin v. City of Burbank, (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1194

Baca v. Moreno Valley Unified School District, (C.D. Cal. 1996) 936 F.Supp. 719

ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS

90 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 47 (2007)

76 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 281 (1993)

66 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 336, 337 (1983)

63 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 215 (1980)

61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 243, 253 (1978)

59 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 532 (1976)

55 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 26 (1972)

Management Resources:

CSBA PUBLICATIONS

Call to Order: A Blueprint for Great Board Meetings, 2015

The Brown Act: School Boards and Open Meeting Laws, rev. 2014

ATTORNEY GENERAL PUBLICATIONS

The Brown Act: Open Meetings for Local Legislative Bodies, 2003

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Attorney General's Office: https://oag.ca.gov

Bylaw NOVATO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: August 26, 2008 Novato, California

revised: April 25, 2017