Pasco School Board won't move meeting to accommodate crowds

Published Nov. 9, 2016

Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning had a simple response to the United School Employees of Pasco request to relocate next week's School Board meeting to a larger locale.

He said no. There are other ways to accommodate the anticipated large crowd while still complying with the fire code capacity rules limiting the board room to 99 people, Browning said.

"Overflow areas have been designated in the lobby of Building 3 and Training Room C. Both areas have closed circuit TV that will be broadcasting the School Board Meeting," Browning explained in a letter to USEP president Kenny Blankenship. "Additionally, I am asking Chairman [Joanne] Hurley to call multiple speakers at a time to ensure adequate travel time from Training Room C to the Board Room. I am also asking my staff that normally sit in the audience, to take seats in Training Room C until after the public comment portion of the meeting is complete and seats are available."

Browning said he consulted with Hurley and board attorney Dennis Alfonso before making his decision.

Blankenship has said he expects at least 100 employees to attend the Tuesday evening meeting, with many intending to speak to the board about pay, benefits, job protections and other issues. Many parents also plan to come, to speak their minds on pending attendance zone changes and dress code rules.

Board rules allow 60 minutes for public comment, with leeway to extend the time. Many are expecting a long night, Hurley's last on the board before her retirement.