The South-Western City Schools Board of Education is one step closer to altering its phone first public participation policy.
At the April 12 meeting, the board had the first reading of the policy change.
The policy now says residents wishing to address the board, regarding a non-agenda item, must call the superintendent’s office by 4 p.m. the Thursday prior to the public meeting.
The revised policy would allow citizens to call in by noon the day of the meeting.
Those who want to address the board regarding an agenda item can sign up just before the meeting.
“I hope this accomplishes what people are looking for,” said board member Karen Dover.
After taking a seat on the board at the start of the year, Dover asked the board to consider a policy revision. She said the community viewed the policy negatively. Board member Jo Ellen Myers agreed, also wanting a change in policy.
Board members Cathy Johnson and Mindy Garverick had said they thought the policy was working well and it was not limiting a person’s right to speak.
Board President Randy Reisling thanked the board for compromising.
“Hopefully this will make it easier for folks to call in,” said Reisling.
Resident Rick Redfern was against the policy change when it was introduced last year. He said he has not had any problems with it, however. Redfern suggested the board consider implementing public participation at all board meetings. Public participation is offered at the first meeting of the month, not the second meeting.
Resident Bob Ruth urged the board to follow through with the policy change.
“It is a step towards fostering communication,” said Ruth.
Ruth also said when residents call to sign up, the superintendent’s secretary asks for the individual’s home address and phone number.
“Why do you need this information?” asked Ruth.
He said giving this information makes it a matter of public record, which might upset those with unlisted numbers.
The call ahead policy change needs to have its second reading. The board will vote on the change in May.