BG school board lays down law for public participation

Superintendent Francis Scruci talks with Jill Carr and Ginny Stewart during board meeting last year.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

While public comments are welcome at Bowling Green school board meetings, those comments better be civil.

Board President Ginny Stewart reminded citizens last week that their conduct at board meetings matters.

State law does not require school boards to allow public participation at their monthly meetings. However, Bowling Green Board of Education has always allowed citizen input and intends to continue to do so.

Stewart said the board recognizes the value of comments made in a “productive and efficient manner.”

Anyone wanting to place an item on the board agenda must contact the district seven days prior to the meeting.

Anyone wanting to speak at the board meeting must sign the register when they arrive at the meeting. The board offers two times to speak at meetings – one to discuss agenda items and another to discuss non-agenda items. This is the time when citizens may voice concerns, suggestions, questions or comments to the board.

Each citizen will be given a maximum of three minutes to speak, unless asked to continue by the board. The maximum time for public participation at a meeting will be limited to 30 minutes, again unless extended by the board.

No questions should be directed to individual board members. And there will be no back and forth discussion. The board may answer questions, or may take them under consideration and respond to the citizen at a later time.

The board will not allow “frivolous, repetitious or harassing” comments during the public participation, Stewart said. The board may request a person leave the meeting – assisted by police if necessary. And the board may call for a recess due to a lack of public decorum.

In other business at the board meeting, agriculture education teacher Stephanie Conway and some of her FFA students made a presentation.

Conway, who was recently recognized with a statewide honor for her teaching, has 120 students in the FFA program. The ag program focuses on such areas as intro to agriculture, animal science, food science and ag business management.

Student leaders in the program noted several awards earned by the FFA, plus talked about several community service projects the group has helped.

The students helped with last year’s Wood County Ag Venture self-driving farm tours, plus raised $7,275 for Mercy Children’s Hospital. They assisted with a woodworking program at the Connections Center, and with Holiday Helping Hands Projects.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Scruci offered sympathies to Lake Schools, where a 13-year-old boy took his life last week.

“They are dealing with a very difficult time,” he said.

Scruci also mentioned the “major issue” of vaping among Bowling Green High School students – with the assistant principal confiscating over $1,000 worth of vaping paraphernalia.

“We have to figure out ways to educate the parents and the students,” he said.

In other business at the meeting, the board:

  • Recognized Deb Horak, who retired after 30 years with the district. Her last position was secretary at Kenwood Elementary. Prior to that, she worked at South Main and Crim elementaries.
  • Approved a trip by the Drama Club to the State Thespian Conference in Akron. All costs will be paid through a combination of fundraisers and by students.
  • Approved a trip by Model UN students to attend a conference in Columbus, also paid for by fundraisers and by the students.
  • Noted the honorable mention awards given to Aiden Meyer and Marah Flores for their artwork for the Safety Kids Calendar Contest.
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