How to Make Public Comments at a Marion County School Board Meeting


A new Indiana law that requires all school boards to seek public input before making a final decision on an item has gone into effect effective July 1after at least a council has suspended public comments due to hearing interruptions last year.

All 11 school districts in Marion County have always allowed public comment at their meetings, but boards can set their own rules and regulations for when and how public comment can be accepted.

While some rules vary from district to district, there are also many overlaps with some of the main rules that the public must follow when approaching a school board. Here are some of the similarities:

  • Most Marion County school boards require anyone wishing to make a public comment at a regular school board meeting to register before the meeting begins. This usually means giving your name and address and mentioning any groups you are affiliated with if that is appropriate for you.
  • Most school board meetings will have some section of the meeting that is devoted to public comment where individuals are usually given three minutes to speak. Each district generally allows the entire public comment section of the meeting to last up to 30 minutes, but the board can also vote to add more time if needed. Speakers are generally only allowed to speak once per meeting or once per agenda item.
  • All speakers must provide feedback to the board as a whole and cannot be directed to individual board members. Statements may not be abusive, disruptive, harassing, frivolous or repetitive. The chairman of the session may interrupt, warn or prevent a person from making his comment if this person disrupts the session or does not address the subject under discussion.
  • The chair may also request the assistance of law enforcement if the speaker continues to be deliberately disruptive and may be removed from the meeting. A request to adjourn or adjourn the meeting may also occur if there is too much disruption from the public for the meeting to take place.

Another important point for giving public comment, but not explicitly stated in all Marion County School Board policies, is that board members generally do not respond to comments made at meetings.

Board members generally take comments into consideration and may respond to some at the end of the full comment period or at the next board meeting, but this is usually up to board members.

Here’s what you need to know if you want to comment publicly on any of the Marion County School Board meetings.

Indianapolis Public Schools

IPS recently made an adjustment to its policy at its June Board meeting in light of the new law which will come into effect on July 1, and now allows oral public comments at all public Board meetings. ‘administration.

IPS generally has three regular monthly meetings which the public can attend. Their working sessions, their agenda review sessions and their action sessions.

Previously, IPS only collected public input during Agenda Review Sessions, Action Sessions, Public Hearings, or at the discretion of the Chairman of the Board.

The board only takes action or votes on policies during action sessions which are usually held on the Thursday of the last full week of each month.

Registration: Register by noon on the day of the meeting by registering online, or by contacting the IPS district office by phone or email. Must submit name, contact information and topic to be discussed.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per person. The board may limit the total time spent on the public comment section of the agenda depending on the number of people wishing to speak and the length of the day’s agenda.

Municipality of Decatur MSD

Registration: Register at the start of the meeting. Speakers recognized to speak will be asked to announce their name, address and topic to be discussed.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per speaker and aggregate public comments are limited to 30 minutes, unless extended by a vote of the Board of Directors. Speakers cannot pass their remaining time to someone else and can only speak once.

Franklin Township Community School Society

Registration: Unspecified.

Order of speakers: The order of speakers is ultimately at the discretion of the Chairman of the Board.

Time limit : Five minutes per speaker, but the time limit can be reduced if a large number of people wish to speak.

MSD Lawrence Township

Registration: Register at the start of the meeting. Speakers should designate the agenda item they wish to speak on and announce their name, address, and group affiliation, if any, when permitted to comment.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per speaker and the overall public comment period is limited to 30 minutes, unless extended by a vote of the Board. No participant may speak more than once on the same subject.

Perry Township Schools

Registration: Unspecified.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per speaker.

Township of MSD Pike

Registration: Register at the start of the meeting. Speakers must announce their name, address and group affiliation, if any, when recognized to speak.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per speaker and the overall public comment period is limited to 30 minutes, unless extended by a vote of the Board. No participant may speak more than once on the same subject unless all others wishing to speak have been heard.

MSD Warren Township

Registration: Register at the start of the meeting. Speakers must announce their name, address and group affiliation, if any, when recognized to speak.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per speaker and the overall public comment period is limited to 30 minutes, unless extended by a vote of the Board. No participant may speak more than once on the same subject unless all others wishing to speak have been heard.

MSD Canton of Washington

Registration: Register at the start of the meeting. Speakers must announce their name, address and group affiliation, if any, when recognized to speak.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per speaker and the overall public comment period is limited to 21 minutes, unless extended by a vote of the Board. No participant may speak more than once on the same subject unless all others wishing to speak have been heard.

MSD Wayne Township

Registration: To give public comment at their meetings, you must be someone who lives in the district, is the legal guardian of a registered student, is employed by Wayne Township, or owns a business operating in the district, depending on the neighborhood statutes. Those wishing to speak must register at the start of the meeting and present a driver’s license or similar identification showing that they live in the district, are a guardian or work in the district.

Order of speakers: By order in which they registered on the attendance sheet.

Time limit : Two minutes per speaker and the overall public comment period is limited to 60 minutes. Any other comments after the allotted time may be submitted in writing to the Superintendent for review.

Wayne Township Public Information Officer Jeannine Templeman told IndyStar that the council plans to revise current policy wording regarding comments on specific action items, procedures for hearing comments on all action points and to revise procedures for people registering for public comment.

Beech Grove City Schools

Registration: Unspecified.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Three minutes per speaker.

Speed ​​schools

Registration: At each regular school board meeting, anyone may make brief remarks to the board under the agenda item “Visitor Recognition”. Anyone wishing to make a more formal comment to the Board may request to be placed on the agenda by contacting the Superintendent at least one week prior to the meeting.

Order of speakers: Unspecified.

Time limit : Unspecified.

Contact IndyStar reporter Caroline Beck at 317-618-5807 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @CarolineB_Indy.

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