Belton ISD discusses new rules regarding public comments during school district meeting

Local News

BELTON, Texas – The Belton Independent School District Policy Review Committee previously began reviewing how they can operate school board meetings more effectively.

“They started discussions about possible changed, aligned with other best practices seen across the state, as well as the opportunity to hopefully make some things more clear to our general public,” says Belton ISD Director of Communication Elizabeth Cox.

Some of the proposed changes discussed Monday evening included some of the Public Comment Policy.

“The public comment opportunities last for three minutes rather than five. That’s best practice that we see across Bell County – is that most last just three minutes,” says Cox.

However, it was just up for discussion. Several people in the public were not in favor of the idea of changing the time limit in the public comment section of the meetings.

“These policy changes is a knee-jerk reaction to the May 17th meeting, of which the Board shared responsibility by limiting speech,” says one concerned Belton resident.

Belton ISD Attorney Holly Wardell says they are not changing the procedures because of the previous meeting. These changes help them align with neighboring school districts.

“What we’re trying to accomplish here is to incorporate the will of the community, but also put some procedures in place where you hear from your community,” Wardell said.

Some who spoke Monday evening want the Policy Review Committee to take into consideration their concerns before the next meeting.

“That’s the whole purpose of the open meeting – is to hear from the community and get input from the stakeholders,” says a concerned Belton resident.

Wardell will be drafting another proposal to be read in front of the Board members in the September meeting.

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