Chair Tokuda, Vice-Chair Kidani and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii strongly supports SB 2763 that would require the Board to have an “open forum” on its meeting agenda.>
The League supports the public’s rights and interest concerning the administration, policy setting and budget making for our statewide school system; this is important whether we have an elected or appointed Board of Education. We believe the proposed measure is consistent with Chapter 92 Section 302A-124 HRS and the Board’s by-Laws.
At the present time, the public is permitted to testify at Full Board of Education meetings, but only for items that already appear on the agenda set by the Board in advance of the meeting. We request this bill be amended, as necessary, so it is clear that every meeting of the Full Board would have an agenda item titled “Open Forum” or “Community Items,” so that the Board routinely solicits public proposals for future agenda items. This would permit greater transparency because minutes of the Board meeting would include the proposed agenda items that had been suggested. At a subsequent Board meeting the Full Board could then take action on any open “Community Items.”
We support the Board’s current instructions for submitting written testimony and presenting testifying in person at Board meetings and do not believe the proposed change would interfere with the general business of the Board.
We urge you to pass/hold this bill. Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony.