Surrounding school districts allow general public comments during board meetings

By J. NOEL ESPINOZA
San Benito NEWS

In Contrast to the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees that enacted a recent measure allowing the public to speak only about agenda items during school board meetings, all surrounding school districts allow the public to comment on overall issues.

Last month, the state indicated that all school districts should allow public comments before or after an item on the agenda. San Benito residents cheered the new law since SBCISD had moved public comments to the end of one board meeting to avoid public scrutiny, especially after its Board of Trustees president Michael Vargas was arrested for allegedly driving-while-intoxicated and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nate Carman negotiated a revision of his contract.

SBCISD took the new law to strip general comments from its agenda even though the same law says in a different section that all public comments should not be restricted.

Ronnie Zamora, a coordinator for communication and marketing at Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District, said whether they are comments on the agenda or not on the agenda, people are not restricted in their district.

Shane Strubhart, administrator for public relations and community engagement in the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, responded via email that the public may comment about items on the agenda or general issues in one of two ways.

The Brownsville Independent School District goes beyond regular board meetings by allowing people to comment in general, even during special and committee board meetings, according to Alfonso Gutierrez Jr., interim administrator for public relations.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Oct. 25, 2019 issue of the NEWS.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2019/10/24/surrounding-school-districts-allow-general-public-comments-during-board-meetings/

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