Stillwater News Press

June 12, 2014

OUR VIEW: Public’s right to be heard

By NewsPress Staff
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Superintendent Ann Caine has said recently that one of the top initiatives of the school district is to get more community input, participation and involvement.

The district is asking the community to join advisory panels to help guide the direction of the district, and recently uploaded an online survey that people can take and give their opinion about school issues and policy.

District officials and Stillwater Board of Education members have often encouraged the public to get involved and give their opinion.

The issue of public participation at board meetings was a source of some debate at Tuesday’s board meeting. The board had a first reading of a possible policy change for public questions on the agenda. The change would increase the number of days required in advance of a board meeting to get public questions on the agenda. Ten days in advance are now required to get questions on the agenda, but the policy change would increase that to 15 days, which seems like a bit much.

The city of Stillwater has a policy for City Council meetings that allows the public to sign up immediately prior to the meeting if they want to make comments.

Those comments are limited to three minutes on agenda topics and five minutes on public hearing topics.

Whether it’s City Council meetings or school board meetings, the public deserves the right to share their opinions – within reason.

Strict time limits should be observed so that the boards can conduct meetings in a timely fashion.