Board of Education→ Community→Public Participation
General Participation Information
Public Comments at Board Meetings
Who Can Make a Public Comment?
The regular business meetings of the Board usually include a public comments period in which any citizen, group representative, parent, or student may make a statement regarding an item on a past, present or future Board open-session agenda, or a matter of general policy over which the Board has jurisdiction.
How Do I Sign Up to Make a Public Comment?
At most business meetings, 30 minutes are set aside for Public Comments from residents to encourage public participation. The first fifteen (15) speakers who contact the Board office by telephone on the Monday prior to the business meetings are granted three (3) minutes each to speak as follows:
- The Board will reserve ten (10) of the fifteen (15) slots for public comments for speakers who wish to comment on issues that are on the agenda for that day’s Board meeting. The other five (5) slots will be reserved for speakers who wish to comment on other issues that are not specifically on the agenda.
- The Board office accepts phone calls on the Monday before the Board meeting. (If the Board meeting is held on a Monday evening, phone calls will be accepted that same day according to the following schedule). The time period from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. will be for speakers who wish to address issues relating to the day’s agenda, and 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. will be for speakers who wish to address other issues.
- If the Board office is closed on a Monday, callers may register to speak by calling as of 8:30 a.m. that Tuesday.
- Unallocated slots may be filled—first come, first served—on the day of the meeting by signing the appropriate sheet at the Board meeting no later than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time for Public Comments.
What is an Appropriate Subject for Public Comments?
This is not the proper avenue to address specific student or employee matters, especially those matters on appeal to the Board. Comments about the actions or statements of individual staff members are not appropriate for Public Comments and should be referred to the Superintendent of Schools or processed through available channels.
Speakers are requested to provide 20 copies of their written testimony for distribution to Board members, staff, and the press.
In advance of the meeting, please email the testimony to email@example.com, fax it to 301-279-3860 or deliver to the Board of Education Office (850 Hungerford Drive, Suite 123, Rockville, MD 20850) and indicate the meeting during which you will be testifying.
The Board of Education schedules public hearings on issues it determines to be of widespread interest and concern. A quorum of the Board is not required to be present for a hearing to be conducted. In addition to special public hearings, the Board holds hearings on its strategic plan, annual operating budget, proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP), and school boundaries. Hearings for the proposed capital budget and CIP and/or boundaries are governed by Board Policy FAA, Long-Range Educational Facilities Planning.
General guidelines for public hearings are as follows:
- The subject, date, and opportunities for signup for a public hearing are typically publicized through the Board’s customary communications channels. Unless otherwise stated in the hearing notice, signups generally begin three weeks prior to the hearing date.
- The agenda for the hearing is closed when the maximum number of speakers is registered or at the close of business the day before the hearing.
- The following time limits for testimony apply to public hearings, unless otherwise specified by the Board in the hearing notice:
- Organizations*/Municipalities/Elected Officials: 5 minutes
(*Organizations include: Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association/Montgomery County Junior Councils, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Parents Council, community organizations, MCCPTA, clusters, and the unions.)
- Individuals: 3 minutes
A person calling to speak, other than a cluster coordinator or area vice president, may reserve only one space. Only one speaker will be registered for any organization, unless the Board provides otherwise. Individuals and organizations may not cede time to others who have signed up. Elected officials are given the courtesy of being placed on the agenda at the time of their choice.
Speakers are requested to provide 20 copies of their statement at the hearing, for distribution to the Board, staff, and press. Speakers are requested to submit their testimony to the Board of Education office at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing.
Public hearings are recorded, televised, and transmitted via webcast.
Additional information about public hearings may be found in the Board of Education Handbook
Individuals and groups may send written comments to the Board. Correspondence sent to the Board president will be copied to all Board members.
Montgomery County Board of Education
850 Hungerford Drive
Rockville, Maryland 20850
E-mail communications to Board of Education members should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All Board members will receive the message.