Public Comment Policy
Reviewed: November 5, 2019
The Hawthorn Board of Education and District Administration value and promote good communication with the Hawthorn educational community. Residents are encouraged to attend meetings of the Board of Education, which are generally held on the third Thursday* of each month.
On certain issues or when required by law, the Board will conduct a public hearing during which any individual may speak before the Board concerning the subject matter of the hearing. In addition, the school district may from time to time hold open public forums as a way to gain community input on pending issues. (These will be announced as the events are scheduled.)
At regular Board business meetings in order to facilitate comments from members of the public, the following procedures are observed:
- A specific time on the agenda is set aside for public comment, generally near the beginning of the meeting. Individuals intending to address the Board are strongly encouraged to contact the superintendent’s office in advance so their name can be placed on the agenda. This courtesy will help to facilitate an orderly Board meeting.
- The time for public comment during regular Board business meetings (excluding official public hearings) will be limited to 15 minutes unless extended by the Board. Individuals who have had their name placed on the agenda in advance will be recognized first. Any other individual wishing to speak during the public comment period will be recognized by the presiding officer in turn. Board policy limits comments to five minutes each.
- Individuals appearing before the Board should state their name and address for the record.
- Since the Board’s responsibility is setting policy for the school district, members of the public should direct their comments to policy matters. Citizens are strongly encouraged to contact the teacher, building principal or Superintendent first with questions or concerns, particularly those questions of a factual nature. Personnel matters relating to a specific district employee are not appropriate for discussion at an open Board meeting.
- The presiding officer may deny a request to speak to a person who has previously addressed the Board on the same or similar subject within the past two months.
- Citizens should not expect to receive an answer to their questions at the meeting. However, the Board of Education and District Administrators will make every attempt to respond to an issue or question. A written answer will be provided no later than 30 days from the date of the meeting. A summary of the response will be provided to the public at a subsequent Board meeting and will be posted on the Board’s website.
- If a group with similar views on the same issue wishes to utilize the public comment period, we ask that a spokesperson be selected to address the Board. This will help to facilitate presenting points of view from all who wish to express their opinions.
Board meetings are made available for cablecast on the Vernon Hills cable access television. In general, meetings are aired on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 p.m. Board meetings can also be viewed here, either live or by browsing a listing of past meetings. Official minutes are posted on the website after being adopted by the Board and also are available for public inspection in the District office.
*When a regular Board meeting date falls on a school holiday, the meeting may be rescheduled for a different time. These sessions generally are limited to conducting essential business and do not ordinarily include a public comment period.