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Senate Bill 1361 — School district boards, public

Senate Bill 1361 — School district boards, public

Parrish Miller
February 19, 2024

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1361 would require school boards to provide an opportunity for relevant public testimony during their regular meetings.

Rating: +1

NOTE: The Senate Amendment to Senate Bill 1361 removed a provision that made the bill's requirements applicable to public charter schools. The rating has not changed.

Does the bill create more transparency or accountability in public education institutions? Conversely, does the bill reduce transparency and accountability in such institutions?

Senate Bill 1361 would amend Section 33-510, Idaho Code, which deals with school board meetings. The bill would add four new subsections laying out requirements for board meetings. Among the requirements: Each board shall "adopt rules of order and procedure to govern its regular meetings; conduct its regular meetings in accordance with the rules of order and procedure as adopted … and make the rules of order and procedure … available to the public at each regular meeting … and on the local school district's and board of trustees' website, if available."

The bill would require each board to "provide the opportunity for members of the public residing in the school district to comment on school and education matters at regular meetings of the board of trustees."

It further says that "each board of trustees shall hear public comment, if offered by a member of the public, prior to taking action on an agenda item. Public comment shall be limited to items listed on the meeting agenda. Nothing in this subsection restricts a board of trustees from establishing reasonable standards for the public comment period of the meeting, including time limits and conduct standards."

Another subsection added by this bill would say, "Members of the public residing in the school district shall be permitted to request the addition of an item directly related to school district business to the agenda of a regular meeting of the board of trustees. The decision to add an item to the agenda of a regular board meeting shall be made pursuant to the rules of order and procedure as adopted pursuant to subsection (4)(a) of this section."

These provisions would give the public more opportunity for involvement in school board meetings, both to address agenda items and to add items to the agenda. Opening up the process in this way provides an increased degree of accountability for the boards. It also could encourage increased public awareness of the board’s activity, which could improve transparency. 


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