Community Outcry Over Limits to Public Comment at Buffalo School Board

12:03 AM, Feb 23, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - A proposal by the Buffalo School Board to limit public comment at meetings drew outcry among parents and community members Wednesday night.

Under the proposed policy, no more than 20 people would be permitted to speak at a meeting, and no more than 5 people could speak on a single topic.

Currently there's a limit of 30 speakers per meeting, and there is no limit on speakers per topic.

"You service the public," said Ina Ferguson Downing, the grandparent of a student in the district. "Therefore you need to hear the public. Limiting the number of speakers limits the voice of the public."

School Board President Lou Petrucci suggested some other potential options for those parents who feel they are being silenced.

"Maybe if we move it over to committee forums we can have that diologue, or if it's a topic that people really want to have more of a discussion we have a public meeting about, but conducting a public meeting or a forum at a business meeting isn't the best venue," said Petrucci.

The board's Executive Affairs Committee will take up the proposal later in March. Members of the public are encouraged to attend that meeting where they can express their thoughts on the subject.

























































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