Here’s a look at the 6 policies Brevard’s school board revised or passed this week

Florida Today | By Finch Walker | March 13, 2023

Two were new proposed policies, while the other four were revisions to existing policies.

The Brevard school board revised four policies at at its most recent meeting and implemented two new ones. These policies addressed public commentary during meetings; public complaints; charter schools; controlled enrollment; the use of small unmanned aircraft systems in school settings; and preference for veterans in employment.

All proposed revisions and new policies passed with unanimous support from board members Matt Susin, Gene Trent, Megan Wright, Katye Campbell and Jennifer Jenkins.

Public commentary at meetings

New guidelines proposed removed tiered speaker structure on agenda and non-agenda items, provided clarity in the policy that speakers cannot sign up other speakers, allowed speakers to address board members directly and provided notice that the board is required to follow Federal Communications Commission regulations, according to a proposal published on BPS’ website.

The document said each speaker would be limited to three minutes of time to address the board, though that time could be extended by the presiding officer. Additionally, public comment will be limited to 30 minutes, unless extended by a vote of the board, though speakers who signed up to speak and were unable to due to time constraints may address the board at the end of the meeting.

Public complaints

Revisions to this policy encouraged informal direct discussions to rectify misunderstandings between individuals and the district. It additionally described more formal procedures for when informal discussions failed to resolve misunderstandings.

The policy laid out procedures for different “levels” of complaints with directions for how they should be handled by the district. The intent of the policy was to give the public an opportunity to address problems with the district while also protecting board members from harassment.

Charter schools

The revisions to this policy sought to ensure compliance with state and federal laws, the Florida State Board of Education Rules, Brevard policies, and to include language from Neola, formerly known as North East Ohio Learning Associates, an organization that helps schools set directions through policy that follow ever-evolving laws. The change to policy heavily incorporated details from Florida Statute 1002.33, which lays out the rules for charter schools throughout the state and counties.

Controlled open enrollment

The revision to this policy included using language suggested by Neola and was a “technical change only,” according to the document published by the district. It was updated based on new state statute and language regarding Statute 1002.31 and public school parental choice. The update will require the district to maintain a waitlist of students who are denied access to schools due to capacity, and parents will be notified when space becomes available. The updated list of schools with grade level capacity will be posted every 12 weeks.

The use of small unmanned aircraft systems in school settings

This new policy ensured that the district is in compliance with federal and state laws and the Florida State Board of Education rules, as well as district policies and administrative rules, procedures and guidelines. With the use of technology-based innovations on BPS schools or other district property, the Department of Risk Management will develop, oversee and approve procedures for the use of unmanned aircraft systems.

Preference for veterans in employment

This policy makes sure that the district is in compliance with federal and state laws, the Florida State Board of Education, district policies and administrative rules, procedures and guidelines.

The policy states that preference in employment, reemployment, promotion and retention will be given to eligible veterans as long as they meet the minimum eligibility requirements and have the knowledge for the position, with preference given to certain disabled veterans.

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