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NHC School Board defers public participation at board meetings to Policy Committee

The NHC School Board didn't pass a lottery-based public participation policy
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 5:30 PM EST
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County School Board voted to defer the topic of public participation at board meetings to the Policy Committee, at a meeting Tuesday evening.

At a meeting last week, Board Chair Stephanie Kraybill suggested the board may consider a lottery system that chooses speakers at random in order to allow more people to speak on a wider range of issues.

After a lengthy discussion, the board decided not to go with the lottery system that they had debated.

A motion passed unanimously to direct the Policy Committee to amend or change the policy to include having three town hall meetings dedicated to public comment. The town halls or “round table discussions” will be dedicated specifically to public comment.

Board members are hoping that this type of meeting will let them have more conversation with the community.

“The call to the audience is really very stifling,” said Board Chair Stephanie Kraybill. “They’re sitting at the podium, they’re talking to us, and we’re staring back. That’s no dialogue, that’s not the way to hear from people. Town halls are a way to get that out there.”

The board will still have to work out the details of the new meeting format along with the Policy Committee, but they hope to have these meetings in March, July, and September in place of the interim meetings.

“That way we can actually focus 100% on the constituents, the people who want to talk to us,” said Board Member Pete Wildeboer.

Board members hope to have these details worked out by their next regular meeting on February 1st.

“I think that it can do nothing but help our relationship with each other, and with the community, and the communication with our staff,” said Kraybill. “It’s a win win all the way around.”

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