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No more standing-room only for Pasco School Board meetings



Just as Pasco School Board meetings have begun filling up with interested parents, teachers and other residents, the district administration has decided to more strictly enforce the board room's capacity.

Tom Rutledge, the district's fire official, alerted the superintendent's office on Friday about his concerns that the board meetings have grown overcrowded, causing potential fire code problems.

The room's capacity is 99, Rutledge wrote in his memo, and the current seating arrangement is the best the district can do while maintaining its safety requirements.

"Any additional seats added would be blocking the egress paths to the exits doors," he wrote. "It has also been brought to my attention that we have had occupants standing along the walls because all seating has been taken. This cannot take place as it impedes the egress path to the exit doors."

In other words, if you're not sitting in the room, fire code says you shouldn't be in the room. The district is posting new occupancy signs in time for Tuesday's board meeting.

Other options include listening from the lobby outside the meeting room. The board often shuts the doors though, because of the added noise from the hall. The district also can set up a training room for remote viewing via live stream.

On learning of the situation, board chairwoman Joanne Hurley suggested that the district prepare a training room for any overflow. "We may have a large crowd," Hurley noted.

People have already said they plan to attend the meeting to protest proposed attendance boundary revisions in both Wesley Chapel and Trinity, as well as to complain about new dress code rules at Ridgewood High School.

Assistant superintendent for operations Betsy Kuhn advised that the maintenance department will have a television installed in time.

[Last modified: Monday, October 31, 2016 10:52am]


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