Hiding HB 2840 from the public

If anyone is shocked at this point that CCISD wouldn’t want members of the public to speak at their meetings, welcome! We’re glad you found Clearly Corrupt.

In all seriousness, the last Board of Trustees meeting was a treasure trove of missteps, with the blanket waivers being granted for larger class sizes the most egregious. But the second misstep? It came right at the beginning of the Board meeting, when Trustee Laura DuPont, the Board president, indicated that the Community Input portion of the meeting had been moved to the beginning in accordance with a new law.

The law she refers to is HB 2840. This law does not state that community input must happen at the beginning of a public meeting (like a Board of Trustees meeting). Oh, no. Here’s what the text of the law actually says:

A governmental body shall allow each member of the
public who desires to address the body regarding an item on an
agenda for an open meeting of the body to address the body regarding
the item at the meeting before or during the body’s consideration of
the item.

In other words, if you had been present at the Board of Trustees meeting when they were railroading Trustee Scott Bowen on the waivers, you could have spoken up. Obviously the Board of Trustees does not want us to know about this law, because if we do, we’ll actually be able to tell them to cut it out. We won’t have to send an actual paper letter before the actual agenda is published in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. We can show up, raise our hands, and speak – and if they don’t let us, they’re in violation of the new law.

Lest you think that’s everything, here’s our favorite part:

A governmental body may not prohibit public criticism of  
the governmental body, including criticism of any act, omission,  
policy, procedure, program, or service.

If you wanted to criticize the Board of Trustees for sneakily enacting policies or penalizing high-achieving children, you can do so (as long as you don’t use profanity or personal attacks). They can’t tell you no or otherwise shut you down. They can limit how long you speak, but they can’t limit the content of what you say – or limit when you speak.

Board of Trustees meetings are about to get a whole lot more interesting – as long as we show up and speak. They literally cannot stop us without violating the law.

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