Lakota board moves to add flexibility to public comment sessions

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

LIBERTY TWP. — A proposed change that would give Lakota’s school board more flexibility in hearing the public had its first resolution reading during Monday evening’s meeting.

The Lakota Board of Education also held its first meeting in a new and larger location, moved to in part due to concerns about security as the last year has seen occasionally contentious meetings sometimes involving shouting from some audience members.

The board conducted the first of two required public readings of a proposed change to the board’s public comment policy to change the current “shall” provide a speaking period to a proposed “may” allow such comment periods during regular board meetings.

The school board also announced next month will start a new public comment session referred to by school officials as a “listening session” of 45 minutes, prior to each regular meeting. This new public portion of the board’s proceedings will see residents of the school district voice their opinions to all five members.

These new, pre-meeting public sessions will not have the restrictions on topics the Lakota board has installed in recent months in part due to a lawsuit and subsequent settlement by the district.

ExploreLakota school board considers ‘listening session’ for public

O’Connor also spoke during the meeting and re-iterated her earlier apology for allowing a social media account of hers to lapse its domain name and how she regretted finding out last week a link to a pornographic site had been added to it without her knowledge.

ExploreLakota school board leader says porn link posted to her social media after it was hacked

“This was a campaign website that I had not used regularly for several years,” said O’Connor, who is the most veteran member of the board.

Later in the meeting, O’Connor urged the board “to shift back to where the focus needs to be” by concentrating on overseeing the operations of the 17,500-student district, which is the largest in Butler County and largest suburban school system in southwest Ohio.

In other action, the board conducted its first regular board meeting on the stage of the auditorium at Lakota East Freshman School in Liberty Twp.

Previously, the board in recent years had met in the smaller, media center room at Plains Junior School in the township.

But for reasons including security concerns pointed out by Butler County Sheriff deputies, which patrol the township, the board will now hold its meetings at Lakota East Freshman School at 7630 Bethany Road.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for April 3 at 6:30 p.m. with the board’s first public listening session to start at 5:30 p.m. running until 6:15 p.m.

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