Letting the people talk
When teachers started yelling, the Hillsborough School Board snapped to attention.
At a meeting last week, a group of frustrated high school teachers waited for more than three hours for the chance to address the School Board. Their objections to plans to increase the teaching load didn’t fit neatly into the two minutes allowed each speaker.
When they were cut off, outrage turned to shouting. It wasn't exactly a Worldwide Wresting Entertainment smackdown, but the explosion stunned a typically staid School Board.
Now Board members want to humanize the portion of their meetings when the public gets to speak. For starters, they are thinking about moving public comments up earlier in the evening, so no one has to wait hours for their turn at the microphone. They're also planning to give an extra minute to most speakers – three minutes a piece – when multiple people have signed up to speak on the same topic.
The School Board also is considering changing their regular meeting time from 5 p.m. to earlier in the day. They hope it'll be easier on district staff and the public, who can swing by during lunch breaks or at the end of the workday.
- Letitia Stein, Hillsborough County education reporter