Following a successful attempt at last month’s meeting, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education is set to again meet online via Zoom this week.
SMMUSD first opted to use the Zoom platform to host board meetings earlier this month after local leaders instructed residents to remain at home and practice social distancing due to the spread of COVID-19.
“We ask for the school community’s understanding that the intent is not to limit public participation,” district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker previously said, “but rather to protect public health by following the recommendations given by the Governor and California and Department of Public Health…”
When the board held its first Zoom meeting on March 19, a multitude of public comments were submitted, so the Board has revised the process to accept public comments, Pinsker added in a recent notice to parents.
“A Google survey ‘sign up’ will be open to members of the public 30 minutes prior to the public meeting.”
Those who wish to comment should visit the website bit.ly/2vZeavu, where prospective speakers will be asked to fill in their names and select if they wish to address the board regarding a specific agenda item or during General Public Comments.
Residents will then be asked to attend the board meeting virtually through the Zoom invitation link at the top of the agenda, and when it is time for the speakers to address the board, their name will be called and the microphone on their Zoom account will be activated, according to staff.
Staff said speakers should rename their Zoom profile names to their real names to expedite this process and as with all meetings, once discussion begins on an agenda item, any speakers who sign up after that time will be given one minute to speak.
The start time for closed session for the April 1, board meeting has been moved to 5 p.m. instead of its normal 4:30 p.m. start time. Open session is expected to begin at 5:30 p.m.
On the Agenda
Until the orders to remain at home have been lifted, board meeting agendas will contain primarily routine and time-sensitive items, such as paying purchase orders, approving independent and construction project contracts, and approving hours worked by certificated and classified staff for payroll purposes, district staff said this week.
A number of resolutions are listed on Wednesday’s agenda under “Major Action Items.” One would authorize SMMUSD to issue and sell 2020 Refunding General Obligation Bonds in an aggregate principal amount that would not exceed $90 million.
The board is also expected to announce the rescission of a single preliminary layoff notice, according to the agenda, which is posted on the district’s website at smmusd.org/domain/2977.
We can thank the ACLU for this change. On March 25th, the ACLU urged the Board to allow for oral public comment at the April 1st SMMUSD Board of Education Zoom meeting – hence the “revised” and “improved” process per Pinsker’s March 27th press release. The ACLU’s letter to SMMUSD is in the public record.
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