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Guidelines for Public Comment at State Board of Education Meetings
Public Comment During Remote Board Meetings
The State Board of Education suspended the portion of their operating procedures concerning in-person public comment at board meetings while board meetings are being held remotely. The public may still submit comments to the board during this time through email or mail. Please email the State Board of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to the Office of the Colorado State Board of Education, 201 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80203.
How can I address the State Board of Education?
Members of the public are welcome to speak before the State Board of Education during the scheduled public comment periods at every regular board meeting. Alternatively, if in-person attendance is not feasible, the public is welcome to submit written comments (email@example.com) to be distributed to each board member. State board meetings are always the second Wednesday and Thursday of the month, unless otherwise noted. View the full schedule of meetings or view current and past meeting agendas.
Unless otherwise noted, two public comment periods are held on Wednesday. The first is usually from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and second opportunity is held at the end of the day, typically around 4:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.
How does public comment work?
Public comment sign-up sheets for both the morning and afternoon sessions are located outside the state board room door on meeting dates. At the designated time, the board chairwoman will read the names on the sign-up sheet in the order in which individuals have signed up.
To provide all members of the public with an equal opportunity to speak to the board, each individual is limited to three minutes for their remarks, unless otherwise noted.
What else should I know about public comment?
Members of the public can speak to any topic, with one exception noted below*, but please note that board members do not respond or ask questions during public comment. Printed materials may be provided as well. Please bring nine copies; one for each board member, one for the Commissioner of Education, and one for the State Board Relations Director. Signs and banners will not be allowed in the state board room during meetings. Members of the public who are disruptive or distracting will be asked to leave the state board room.
*The state board cannot hear comments related to any quasi-judicial matters. These matters include charter school appeals, accountability clock hearings, and teacher discipline matters.
Charter Appeals and the State Board of Education
The State Board of Education has a very narrow authority in charter school disputes, and the board handles such cases differently than other matters. On most issues that come before the board, public input is a significant factor in the board’s decisions. However, disputes between charter schools and districts are considered formal legal appeals, and state board members must serve as impartial judges in the proceedings. The board is required to consider only the materials submitted by the charter and district and decide whether the law was followed. Because of the special status given to these proceedings under the law, the board cannot consider letters and outside materials sent in from the public, and cannot entertain comments about the appeal during the public comment portion of its meeting.
When a charter appeal is brought forward to the State Board of Education, board members:
- Must base their decision on the record developed when the charter application was reviewed and decided at the local level. The local board has submitted those materials to the board office, and both sides file written arguments (briefs) making their respective points.
- Hear presentations and arguments from only the charter school and school district.
- May not address topics that are not spelled out in the official appeal documents.
Thank you for understanding the legal requirements of the state board members. You may find additional information about the charter appeal process by looking at the State Board of Education’s 2008 Administrative Policy for Charter School Appeals [link] and the relevant statute, C.R.S. 22-30.5-108.
The board appreciates the interest of the public in all aspects of its work. But in these cases, the time for public input is when the local board is considering the charter school application at the district level. That way, public opinion may form part of the record that the board considers in the event there is an appeal of the local decision.