Katy ISD board to only meet once a month; open forum to be first agenda item

The Katy ISD board of trustees approved changes in its board policy at the Aug. 26 meeting.

The Katy ISD board of trustees approved changes in its board policy at the Aug. 26 meeting.

Katy ISD board of trustee meetings will be scheduled differently starting in September.

Thanks to board approval at the Aug. 26 meeting, the board of trustees will only meet once a month, though the members can call for additional work or special meetings if necessary.

Since at least 2013, the board has met two times per month for a work-study meeting and a regular meeting, according to a KISD archive of meeting agendas.

Additionally, the structure of board meetings will change. The open forum will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by a closed session and then the open session.

Before this change, those wanting to speak at a work-study meeting had to sign up before 6:15 p.m. and wait until the board returned from closed session and completed its open session agenda to speak.

This new structure will allow parents and other community members to voice their concerns about board decisions before the board deliberates and takes action, KISD General Counsel Justin Graham said.

“[Members of the public] have always had to wait until the end of the meeting,” Graham said. “Now, they’re going to be able to sign in before 5:15, 5:30 hits, and they’re going to be able to address the board, and then the board will be able to consider their feedback as it takes action on items moving forward throughout the meeting.”

These changes will be in place for the next board meeting Sept. 23 at the Education Support Complex, 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Katy.

The move to only one meeting a month is to improve efficiency, Graham said. Meanwhile, the change in the meeting structure has been enacted because of House Bill 2847, which is effective Sept. 1. It requires school boards—and other governmental bodies—to allow members of the public to address agenda items in front of the board before it considers the item.

The board also approved another change in board policy that specifies criticism voiced during the open forum can only be directed to the board as a whole and its decisions; criticism cannot be directed to individual trustees or employees.

Another policy change approved by the board was to delegate authority to the superintendent to select and employ new employees below the campus principal or equivalent. Under state law, the board has the final authority on hiring contractual personnel, but it can delegate the authority, Graham said.

Previously, the board had delegated this duty to the superintendent only during the summer, but under the new policy, the superintendent will have this power throughout the year, Graham said.

“I think it makes a ton of sense, especially in the district as large as Katy ISD with the many employees and teachers we just have to hire,” he said.
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