BDDH: Public Participation at Board Meetings (and Committee Meetings)

Classification: 
B: Board Governance and Operations
Code: 
BDDH; also KD

To allow full and open communication between the Board of School Trustees (the “Board”) and the public (members of the community, students, staff members, and parents), the Board has created several avenues for the exchange of ideas, information, and opinions.  Some of these exchanges properly take place at Board or Standing Committee meetings, and the Board has set the following policies to govern them:

Open Question Period at Board Meetings 

The regular meetings of the Board will normally begin at 19:00 hours and will contain a question period starting at 21:00 hours or at the end of the public session, whichever is earlier.  At the start of each meeting, it is the practice for the Chairperson of the Board to announce that the public may question the Board during the open question period. 

After the open question period, there will be a recess and the Board will normally proceed with its regular business not later than one hour after the start of the open question period.

Procedures for Delegations to Board or Committee Meetings 

Delegations may be heard by either the Board or one of its Standing Committees. 

A delegation wishing to appear must submit to the Secretary-Treasurer or the Board's Trustee Support a request in writing stating whether they wish to appear before the Board or one of its Standing Committees, the matter(s) they wish to bring before the trustees and, if a brief is to be presented, a copy of the brief and the name of the spokesperson for the delegation. 

Since issues can be considered and deliberated in more detail at the Committee level, whenever possible, the delegation will be requested to appear before the appropriate Standing Committee; however, if a delegation does not wish to do so or if urgent matters do not allow sufficient lead time for the delegation to present its brief before the Standing Committee, the Board will hear the delegation at a time to be set by the Board.

If the request is to appear before the Board, the request and all supporting material must be received at the Education Centre, 1580 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.  V6J 5K8, prior to 16:30 hours on the Wednesday before the Board meeting. 

If the request is to appear before a Standing Committee, the request and all supporting material must be received at the Education Centre at least four days prior to the regularly scheduled date of the Committee meeting. 

If a delegation has already presented its brief at a Board and/or Standing Committee meeting, its request to appear again before the Board and/or any Standing Committee may be denied unless the delegation has new information that is significantly different from the information already presented.  Such information must be provided in writing to the Secretary-Treasurer or Trustee Support. 

If a delegation appears before the Board, the following procedures will be followed: 

  • with the exception of matters involving personnel or property, delegations appearing before the Board will be heard in public session; 
  • the time allotted for the delegation's presentation will be five minutes, and every effort should be made not to exceed this time limit; 
  • the spokesperson for the delegation and other previously designated speakers shall present the delegation's position on the matter being brought before the Board; 
  • Board members may direct questions for clarification through the spokesperson for the delegation; however, the matter will not be debated; 
  • the matter will not be considered by the Board at the meeting at which the delegation appears; exceptions to this procedure may be made by resolution of the Board; 
  • if the matter is to be considered by the Board at a public meeting, the delegation's spokesperson will be advised so that if he/she or any member of the delegation may attend; however, it must be noted that the representatives may not enter into the debate; 
  • if the matter is discussed by the Board in private session, then the delegation's spokesperson will be advised of the Board's action;
  • The Chairperson of the Board may waive the notice requirement (the request and all supporting material must be received at the Education Centre prior to 16:30 hours on the Wednesday prior to the Board meeting) and permit a delegation to appear before a Board meeting if the Chairperson of the Board considers the matter to be an emergency item.  

If a delegation is to appear before a Standing Committee of the Board, the following procedures will be followed: 

  • with the exception of matters involving personnel or property, which will be heard in private session, the Committee chairperson will determine whether a delegation is to be heard during the public session or the private session of the Committee meeting;  
  • the spokesperson of the delegation will be informed of the date and time of the meeting at which the response to their brief is to be debated by the Committee, and copies of the response will be made available, upon request, on the Monday following delivery of this material to the trustees; 
  • time allotted for the delegation's presentation will be ten minutes; however, the Committee may extend this period if Committee members feel that an extension of time is necessary in order to permit the delegation to give a complete outline of its position on the matter before the Committee; 
  • the spokesperson should present the delegation's position to the Committee; however, comments from other members of the delegation will be welcomed; 
  • Committee members may direct questions for clarification to the spokesperson for the delegation; however, the matter will not be debated (the Committee chairperson may permit more detailed discussion than that permitted if the delegation was appearing before the Board); 
  • the Committee may decide to defer its consideration of the matter to a future meeting; if the matter is deferred to a future Committee meeting and is to be considered in open session, the spokesperson for the delegation will be advised of the time and place of the Committee meeting and the Board meeting at which the committee report will be considered so that he/she or other members of the delegation may attend the meeting(s), but it must be noted that the representative(s) may not enter into the debate; 
  • if the Committee decides to debate the matter at the meeting at which the delegation was heard, the members of the delegation may remain but may not participate in the debate; 
  • if the matter is discussed by the Committee in private session and the Committee report is considered by the Board in private session, the spokesperson for the delegation will be advised of the Board's action; 
  • a Committee chairperson may waive the notice requirement (the request and all supporting material must be received at the Education Centre at least four days prior to the day of the Committee meeting) if the Committee chairperson considers the matter to be an emergency item; 
  • the Board's communications staff in the Office of the Superintendent of Schools is available to advise delegations regarding presentation procedures. 

Note: A brochure outlining the Board's procedure on hearing delegations is available from the communications staff.

DMT Responsibility: SUPT

Cross References: 
KGB: Public Conduct on School Property
Adopted Date: 
Sunday January 08, 1978
Revision Date: 
Sep 1987
Jul 1988
Aug 1990
Sep 1994
Dec 1996
Jan 1999