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New Hanover school board to hold first of three annual 'public participation' meetings

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The roughly 2-hour meetings, required by the district's recently updated policy, allow for a variety of formats — including town halls, round-table discussions, and extended versions of the monthly 'Call to the Audience' segment. Tuesday evening's meeting will follow the latter format.

The meetings were created for the purpose of “enhancing listening and dialogue opportunities with the public" according to Policy 2300, which was updated after a lengthy debate in February.

Under the district’s policy, the meetings can take a variety of formats, at the discretion of the board chair, including town halls or round-table discussions, or — in the case of Tuesday's meeting — a 2-hour version of the 'Call to the Audience' portion of the board's regular monthly meetings. Those segments, traditionally about an hour, allow public comments but don't include responses from board members.

The board reserves the right to enforce decorum and has, in the past, removed public speakers — with the assistance of New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies — who used profanity, derogatory language, made personal attacks, or, in one case, addressed the audience instead of the board.

The policy requires the meetings to be approximately two hours – but not longer. There are 30 available online sign-up spots; the online form can be found here. There are also 10 in-person sign-up slots — those will be available at 3 p.m. at the Board of Education center, an hour before the meeting is slated to begin. The meeting will be held at 1805 S. 13th St.