In order to help people to realize that they are not alone in their concerns about the state of our schools here in Huntsville, I’m going to be dedicating a blog post the day after every board meeting in the future to publishing citizens’ comments here.
Citizens’ Comments: A History
Back when I first began attending board meetings in 2011, I was concerned about the status of our Special Education students. At that time, the board allowed citizens’ up to three minutes to speak to the board (as they do now) at the conclusion of every work session (usually the first Thursday of every month) and board meeting (usually the third Thursday of every month.)
As they were refusing to answer my questions about the plan to consolidate special education students in just two schools in the district, I typically spoke at the conclusions of both the work sessions and the board meetings.
However, because waiting silently for a response from the board made the board “uncomfortable” and attempting to record a citizen’s comments at a board meeting was deemed “intimidating” they eventually cut the number of times that citizens could bring concerns to the board from every meeting of the board (twice a month) to just the official “board meeting” (once a month).
Then before the old board left in 2014, they further limited who could speak to the board during citizens’ comments to residents of the city of Huntsville because listening to the public for three minutes at the end of one meeting per month was, according to Dr. Jennie Robinson (currently City Council Member), “interfering with our ability to do the business that we needed to do.”
This was, of course, BS.
So they currently listen to citizens’ concerns just once a month at the end of the Board Meeting (even though the board conducts business every time they meet). The comments must be limited to three minutes. They will not be televised on E-TV as they do not wish to allow other citizens to hear what citizens might think.
A Solution: Share Your Citizens’ Comments Here
So, since I was at least somewhat responsible for the reduction of citizens’ comments by asking the board questions and waiting for answers (or “grandstanding” as Mr. Carlos Matthews called on his Uplifting HCS Facebook page), I thought I would allow any citizen who wished to share their Citizens’ Comments with the public to do so here.
If you wish to share your comments to the board of education with the city as a whole, here’s how you can do so:
- You may email me a copy of your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org either before or after the meeting. (I will wait until 24 hours after the meeting to publish any comments I receive.)
- I will then compile those unedited comments into a blog post that will be shared approximately 24 hours after the conclusion of the board meeting.
- If you do not wish to send me your comments before I post the blog, you may, of course, share the comments in the comment section under the post.
I will share any comment that I receive regardless of the content of the comment in an unedited form. Yes, I will publish any positive comments I receive as well. (I will, of course, not allow anyone to make a threatening comment.)
If you want your comments that you’ve shared with the board of education to be read by a wider audience, you may use this approach to do so.
I hope this helps our community to realize that there are many people who care about our schools and the direction our district is heading.