A Balancing Act: The Role of the School Board Chair in Managing Their Team and in Managing Public Comment at School Board Meetings
School boards all over Maine have been forced to confront challenging issues during the pandemic in a time of great uncertainty and in the face of alarming behavior by the public at board meetings. As a result, school boards have been wrestling with managing public comment at board meetings and understanding what comments can be restricted and what comments must be allowed. In this Zoom workshop, Steve Bailey and Eileen King of Maine School Management Association and Peter Felmly and Kathleen Wade of Drummond Woodsum will offer practical and legal guidance for board members as they navigate these turbulent waters. We will offer insights for new (and not so new) board chairs in an effort to help them manage their boards and their public meetings. Kathleen and Pete will also explore the complicated statutory, constitutional, and practical issues in play in this area. In particular, they will review the general rules concerning what is permitted in a limited public forum and discuss a number of recent court rulings that help to delineate what comments or behavior can be restricted. There will also be ample time for questions.