Public Testimony at Regular School Board Meetings
The Seattle Public School Board welcomes members of the public to the legislative meetings of the Board and dedicates time at these meetings to hear from the public on agenda items and other issues of concern.
It is important for all community members to feel welcome and safe in the Board’s business meetings. Audience members will be expected to treat all attendees with respect and civility, just as Seattle Public Schools expects of students in our schools.
Public Testimony at Regular Board Meetings is governed by Audience Participation Board Policy No. 1430 and Board Procedure 1430BP.
General Rules / Ground Rules / How to Sign Up for Public Testimony
Each speaker on the public testimony list will have up to two (2) minutes to speak at a regular Board meeting. Speakers addressing agenda items will have preference. The Board may schedule special hearings to receive additional public testimony, for topics of special public interest or as required by law.
The time limits must be observed so that 20 people will be able to speak during the time allotted for public testimony. In order to provide opportunities to address the Board, speakers are allowed only one 2-minute speaking time per meeting. If you are not one of the first 20, you can ask to be added to the wait list. In the event that thirty five (35) or more public testimony requests are received prior to the start of the Board meeting, an additional five (5) speaking slots will be made available for that meeting only, for a total of twenty five (25) speakers.
If you want to give your time to someone else, you must attend the Board meeting and announce this to the Board when it is your turn to speak. The person to whom you cede your time will receive the remainder of your 2 minutes and should speak to the same topic. As you have ceded your speaking time, you will not be able to speak again at the meeting.
If you have handouts to give to the Board, please bring 10 copies and give them to Board staff ahead of the meeting. No one should approach the dais with handouts.
The Board does not take public comments on issues related to personnel or individually named staff at Board meetings; speakers will be ruled out of order by the president. The president will also rule a speaker out of order for the use of name-calling, profanity, racial slurs or threats. Persons who attempt to disrupt the meeting will be asked to leave.
- One person is to speak at a time.
- Comments should be addressed to the Board.
- Please adhere to the two-minute time limit on testimony.
- The focus of comments should be on issues and solutions.
- No racial slurs, personal insults, ridicule, or threats will be allowed.
- All signs brought to meetings are subject to these ground rules. Also:
- Signs must be held by hand
- Signs cannot obstruct the view of others or television cameras
- Signs cannot be posted on the walls
How to Sign Up for Public Testimony
The order of public testimony will be determined as follows: agenda action items, agenda introduction items, and then items of general interest.
The Board agenda is posted by close of business the Friday before Board meetings. The School Board Office will take sign-ups for the public testimony list starting at 8:00am on the Monday before regular Board meetings and continue until 12:00 noon Tuesday before the meeting. The final list of public testimony will be posted on the Board agenda webpage by close of business the day before the regular Board meeting.
To sign up for public testimony, members of the public should e-mail email@example.com or call (206) 252-0040 and give their legal name, telephone number, e-mail address, and the topic they would like to address. (Since Seattle Public Schools is a public agency, this information will fall into the public domain.) If complete information is not provided, you will not be included on the list. Please note, only the person who will be providing testimony may request the spot.
The School Board Office is not able to contact every person who requests to speak at the meeting. Each person should check the website on Tuesday after 5 p.m. to see where they are on the testimony list or whether they are on the waitlist.
Individuals needing an accommodation to participate in a regular or special Board meeting, including those with disabilities or those requiring language interpreting services, should contact the School Board Office as soon as possible and no later than two days in advance of a regular meeting. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate requests received less than 48 hours in advance.