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School board changes policies on participation

February 21, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

The Washington County Board of Education voted Tuesday to change policies that outline public participation in business meetings and other settings with the board.

The board also voted to alter a policy that includes the guidelines for political participation of school system employees.

Both votes were on first readings of the new policies and were unanimous. Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner was absent.

A part of the policy requiring an individual or group to request to be placed on the board meeting agenda at least seven days before the meeting was removed, according to documents provided to the board. The deleted language also required that notification be given to school system Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and Board President Roxanne R. Ober.

"We also discussed having dialogue with citizens during citizens participation," Ober said of discussion among policy committee members. "We were divided as a committee."

Board Member Ruth Anne Callaham said she would favor dialogue during that time.

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Board Member W. Edward Forrest said he supported the revised policies.

"I think it allows for an opportunity so that folks don't feel their concerns are falling on deaf ears," he said.

The school system's chief legal counsel, Anthony Trotta, said the adopted policy on political participation applies to volunteers also, which is a new addition.

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