AGENDA: Salem-Keizer board wants to hear from you about public comment

New school board Director Karina Guzmán Ortiz, left, student advisor Grace Caldwell and Directors Ashley Carson Cottingham, María Hinojos Pressey and Osvaldo Avila smile as supporters hand them flowers before their first meeting on July 13, 2021 Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

The Salem-Keizer School Board will spend one hour of their next meeting listening to the public about how they should receive public comment in the future.

The board meets Tuesday, July 27 in a work session starting at 6 p.m. at the district’s support services center, 2575 Commercial Street S.E. The meeting will be open to the public with a capacity of 65 people. It’s the first open in-person meeting the board has held since the Covid pandemic began.


Board Chair Osvaldo Avila and Vice Chair Ashley Carson Cottingham have drafted a plan for handling public input as in-person meetings resume. Their plan calls for future board meetings to have between 30 to 60 minutes of public comment, with speakers divided between those calling in and those attending the meeting in-person. Each speaker would have two or three minutes to talk, with additional time to translate comments into English if needed.

If more people sign up than the board has time for, speakers would be selected based on the order they signed up in and their job or relationship to the district. The goal, according to the draft policy, would be to hear from people representing a variety of categories including students, parents, district employees, representatives of employee unions and community members.

The board will also hear an update from Superintendent Christy Perry about the district’s plans for returning to school in the fall and communicating with families before the school year begins.

To participate: The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 27 in the boardroom at the Support Services Center, 2575 Commercial Street S.E. The meeting can be viewed in-person or live on CC:Media, channel 21, or on YouTube in English and Spanish.

Commenters can sign up in advance until noon on Monday using this form. There will also be a sign-up sheet for in-person attendees in the boardroom, with those comments heard first-come, first-served as time allows.

-Rachel Alexander