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Carroll County Board of Education moves public participation to beginning of meetings

The Carroll County Board of Education voted to make public participation an earlier part of its meetings Wednesday, in light of meetings where public comment and topics of interest have gone late into the evening at the expense of teachers, parents and students.

Beginning with the board’s next meeting in March, public participation will come right after preliminary items — like the approval of minutes and opening comments — as well as after other topics as it has been.

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After using five of four allotted inclement weather days this winter, the Carroll County Board of Education voted to add five more days to the academic year to make sure the 180-day school year requirement is met.

This adds a second time frame to bump public participation up from its current location, as the sixth procedure on the agenda — after preliminary items; personnel action items, recommendations and appointments; the consent agenda; administrative reports; and presentations — which led public comments coming as late as 9 p.m. when meetings begin at 5 p.m.

A Carroll County Times editorial noted that over the past 18 months, two-thirds of the regularly scheduled BOE meetings have lasted more than two-and-a-half hours, including every monthly meeting since September.

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The Carroll County Board of Education voted to adopt its $334,979,586 budget for the 2020 fiscal year at its February meeting this week. 

Of those, eight have taken three hours or more, six have lasted three-and-a-half hours or longer and, dating back to last January’s school board meeting, five have exceeded four hours, including three of the past five.

The changes in their entirety can be viewed in the Board of Education Feb. 13 agenda online.

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