Keyport Board of Ed will not limit public participation

Despite a motion proposed to limit public comment at the school board meetings to five minutes per person (and only 30 minutes total for any and all comments), the board voted against the motion.

This was on the agenda at the last school board meeting held on April 9.

The following are comments forwarded to me by a resident. The statement was e-mailed to The Asbury Park Press on April 14.

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Attention: Opinion Page

I am a current member of the Board of Education Policy Committee. I understand that we are closing in on Election Day, but I feel that Dr. McNamara’s letter of April 14 should be addressed. Not only was there a policy in existence concerning public participation at board meetings, but Dr. McNamara evidently added the proposed limitations when only he and one other board member were present at a committee meeting. The other committee member and I were not present, nor were we informed of the change. I was not made aware of “current or former ” board members requesting the change, nor would I have felt it appropriate to consult former board members. I learned of the change after a workshop meeting when Dr. McNamara told us we ought to take a look at it. After reading it, I contacted the other committee person and Board President Biagianti and expressed my opposition to the limits on public participation. I voted for the new policy in the interest of compromise, but I reiterated my opposition to the change remarking that when we have a board president like Mr. Biagianti, who is fair, respectful of the public and in control of the meetings, there is no need to shut out the public. Indeed, in the year since Joe has been president, there has been no inappropriate public participation, if there is such a thing. Dr. McNamara proposed the change, and the rest of the board opposed it. The public was overwhelmingly opposed. In fact the only member of the board or the public to speak in favor of time limits was Dr. McNamara. There will be no limits on public participation. Democracy, ain’t it grand? Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Peter W. Henning

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Yes, isn’t it grand?

The public would not be silenced on this matter. As a result, they will not be silenced at meetings.

The next school board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Central School all-purpose room.

For more information, visit the Keyport Public Schools Web site.

PHOTO: Keyport Central School. (Melissa L. Gaffney)

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Filed under Keyport, Keyport Board of Education, Public Comment, The Asbury Park Press

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