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Connellsville school board to review public comment policy

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Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 6:26 a.m.

Connellsville Area School Board will review its public comment policy at Wednesday's regular meeting.

Board president Jon Detwiler said the policy, originally adopted in 2006, requires all public comment to take place before the school board meeting begins.

“Citizens who want to speak at the meeting are required to sign in and provide their names, addresses and topics they want to discuss,” Detwiler said during Monday night's work session.

Each resident can address the board for three minutes, he added. “After they are done speaking, the residents must provide the school board with a copy of their written statements so they can be entered into the meeting minutes.”

Under the policy, residents are not allowed to directly address board members or ask them specific questions, Detwiler said.

Detwiler said the policy will be reviewed because “some people are not familiar with the policy.”

“We want to communicate with the public and to make sure they are aware of the rules,” school district solicitor Christopher Stern said. “We've had occasions where people have forgotten to sign up. We want to make sure that doesn't happen and everyone who wants to address the board has an opportunity to speak.”

Detwiler said the school board decided to address the policy at its first meeting following reorganization.

“The policy hasn't changed since 2006, but we just want to remind people about the policy,” Stern said. “We haven't done that in a long time. It's something that we should be doing. We want the public to know what to expect. We don't want the lack of knowledge to present a barrier to the public.”

Also on Wednesday, the school board plans to hire Eckels Architects to draw up bid specifications to solicit proposals from contractors to replace a section of roof at the recently renovated Connellsville Career and Technical Center.

“A section of the roof is in need of replacement because it wasn't part of the roof work that was done when the building was renovated in 2009,” Detwiler said.

Wednesday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Connellsville Career and Technical Center.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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