The Lancaster Central School District’s new public-speaking rules ramped up special attention last Monday night, the first time that the new rules took effect.
Board President Marie MacKay went out of her way to announce to the public that the board had been thinking for a long time about the changes, which now allow for the public to speak just at the end of board meetings and no longer at the beginning and end of a meeting. Additionally, the public has a 5-minute limit. And the board times the public and lets speakers know when their speaking time is up.
“You cannot come back up and ask additional questions,” MacKay said.
The district also is allowing residents to call in advance of the meeting to get their name on a list to speak, but that is optional.
A former board member got up and spoke – telling the School Board that it bothered him that the public would not have the opportunity to comment on items of business before the board takes action on them.
“You’ve taken away the ability for the public to tell you how it feels on agenda items beforehand,” he said.
Board Vice President Wendy Buchert said Lancaster reviewed several districts and found it was one of few left offering two public comment sections in its meetings. “I don’t think we’re not trying to be transparent,” she said.
She indicated she would take the feedback back to the board for additional review.
Also this week:
• The Lancaster Town Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in a work session, followed by its regular business meeting at the Town Hall, 21 Central Ave.
• The Town Planning Board meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 21 Central Ave.
• The Village Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Building, 5423 Broadway.
• The Village Historic Preservation Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Municipal Building at 5423 Broadway.
• The Lancaster Public Library’s Board of Trustees meets at 4 p.m. Thursday in the community room of the library at 5466 Broadway.