Testimony of Lynda Rubin to the BOE, May 28, 2020

As someone who, along with my APPS colleagues, attends all Revocation Hearings, I read Item 44 with interest. However, because the original version wasn’t included, it isn’t clear to me what changes you want to make. I would like to note , however, that District’s legal team and hearing master at these hearings are stellar.

That being said, I’m not as pleased with the changes made in the last few months to the Board’s Speaker Policy for its own Action and Committee meetings that’s in effect tonight.

At the November 2019 Policy Committee Meeting, Lisa Haver spoke against the elimination of Policy 903 that included specific speaker rules. This Board assured those in attendance that the public’s opportunity to be heard would not be compromised. 903 was eliminated in March 2020 in favor of an addition to 005. But the previous practice of ensuring equal number of speakers on both sides is no longer in effect under current policy 005 on the website. The Board’s policy no longer ensures a fair hearing on both sides of an issue.

In just a few months, the Speakers policy practice has changed from 4 speakers for and 4 speakers against any agenda item for 3 minutes each, to 3 speakers each pro and con, to 2 minutes per speaker – giving speakers little time to make a cogent point. Now, speakers have been told that the policy is a total of 3 speakers with no assurance of equal time for counter opinions.

This Board is either interested in public discourse of you’re not. Submission of written testimony only informs the Board of a point of view, but NOT other public listeners. Attaching written testimony to the minutes a month later is not the same thing.

Too much is already done behind closed doors, out of the public view. In just a few months you’ve enforced the dwindling ability of public stakeholders to speak and hear public testimony at a public meeting.

Please reconsider such disrespect to the meaning of transparency and public engagement.