Graphic -Citizen Comment, Safety Protocols

The School Board voted to approve revisions to Policy 134, Citizen Participation, during its meeting on September 15, 2021. The policy revisions expand the time devoted to citizen comment at regular school board meetings from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, allowing the School Board to hear from more citizens. Additionally, by majority vote, the School Board may, from time to time, also agree to conduct town hall meetings or provide forums other than regular School Board meetings to receive public input on such topics. The School Board has also provided more ways for citizens outside of meetings to send communications by adding video submission options.

The expanded citizen comment time and the variety of communication methods available will allow even more of our citizenry to be heard while still allowing the School Board to conduct its business in a timely and efficient manner.

All attendees at School Board meetings will be required to follow all safety and security protocols. The protocols include the prohibition of signs, posters, placards, banners or like objects in the School Board's meeting room during any School Board meeting, hearing or town hall, except when part of a PWCS-approved student presentation and only where such signs, posters, placards, banners or like objects do not obstruct the view of others or pose a threat to the orderly conduct of the meeting and the safety of others.

A portion of all regular School Board meetings is set aside under the citizen comment period to receive input from Prince William County residents, and from PWCS employees, parents/guardians, students, and business partners on issues directly relating to the Prince William County Public Schools, especially items of business on the agendas of such meetings in order to assist the Board in making informed decisions when voting on such items.

The citizen comment period for regular School Board meetings is one hour, with the first half hour reserved for comments on agenda items only, and the second half hour for comments on agenda items or other topics germane to the operations and policies of PWCS. Speakers are also limited to three minutes each, with an additional time allowance provided for speakers requiring translation assistance, as determined at the discretion of the Chairman At-Large.

Once the agenda has been made public by the Clerk, Prince William County citizens, and PWCS employees, parents/guardians, students, and business partners who wish to address the Prince William County School Board may request that they be placed on the list of speakers for the citizen comment period by completing the Citizen Comment Period Request form located on the School Board website or by telephone call to the Clerk of the School Board, prior to noon on the day of the Board meeting. Speakers will be signed up on a first-come, first-served basis. The sign-up list will close once the number of total speakers who have signed up reaches twenty and there will be no sign-up thereafter, nor at the meeting.

No one shall be allowed to sign or register another person's name on the list nor speak on behalf of another individual who has registered or signed onto the list of speakers. No one who has signed up to speak may yield his or her time to another speaker. All speakers must provide their address and phone number or email address in order to verify their residency in Prince William County and permit the Clerk to contact residents if necessary. Residents of the county with no fixed address may also add their name to the list of speakers and shall provide the Clerk with a means to contact them.

Speakers shall be placed on a list in the order in which they notify the Clerk. Ten speakers will be allowed to sign up to speak to agenda items only during the first half hour of the citizen comment period, and up to ten additional speakers may sign up to speak to agenda or non-agenda matters during the second half hour of citizen comment period.

Additional information on Citizen Comment is available on the School Board website.