DeSoto ISD TEA-Mandated Public Hearing Rules of Engagement

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DEC local policy

DESOTO– The DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees and administration invite the school community to participate in the Thursday, August 20, 2020 Public Hearing regarding the published findings of the district’s recent TEA investigation.

While all who have pre-registered will be permitted to share comments in a live-streamed, virtual forum, the district would like to inform the public of the rules of engagement for this meeting.

As a reminder, those interested in speaking during the Public Hearing MUST pre-register to speak. Pre-registration will close at 7 PM on Thursday, August 20, 2020–immediately at the start of the Public Hearing.

Those who pre-register will receive access information to enter the district’s Zoom video-conferencing platform. Upon entry into the Zoom platform, pre-registrants will be placed in a virtual waiting room until scheduled to speak.

Pre-registrants placed in the virtual waiting room will not have access to view the public hearing while in the virtual waiting room and will need to watch the live-stream online at http://desotoisdtx.swagit.com/live on a separate device.

Those who pre-register to speak MUST display his or her camera while speaking and must display his or her name while actively participating.

When addressing the audience during the public forum, speakers’ commentary must adhere to the following:

Everyone must model courtesy and respect. Speakers shall not employ profane or threatening language nor shall they engage in any personal attacks.

The public has the right to make critical and harsh remarks. However, the expectation is that the message delivered by the speaker is done so in a constructive manner with a collaborative purpose. Speakers are expected to respect both the decorum of the public meeting and the authority of the Board.

The Board of Trustees requests that derogatory or inflammatory statements and personal attacks on individuals be avoided. Caution should be exercised in publicly attacking specific individuals.

Members of the public do not have the right to disrupt the meeting. Speakers whose behavior disrupts the conduct of the public meeting or threatens the public safety are subject to removal from the meeting.

Speakers shall not use their commentary in an attempt to interrogate board members nor in an attempt to force the body to engage in debate; Any questions presented will be answered in an FAQ following the meeting.

Speakers comments must be focused on the posted agenda item: The TEA Final Report’s allegations and findings:

Allegation One
The DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees failed to oversee the management and fiscal performance of the District, in violation of Tex. Educ. Code §11.051 Governance of Independent School District4 and Tex. Educ. Code §11.1511 Specific Powers and Duties of Board.

Allegation Two
The DeSoto ISD used state and or federal funds for purposes other than those allowed by law, in violation of Tex. Educ. Code §45.105 Authorized Expenditures.

Summary
The findings establish that there is need for TEA intervention to assist the District in deficient areas that have been an ongoing problem. Although DeSoto ISD views the proposed sanctions as a penalty, TEA intervention will only guarantee that the District will thrive once more. As mentioned in the District’s response, five out of the seven trustees are recently elected members and lack the experience necessary to address the complex underlying problems effectively and efficiently. In its current position, DeSoto ISD requires experienced leadership that will guide the Districts Administration to resolve the problems the District is currently facing.

Recommendations for Sanctions
After an extensive analysis of the DeSoto ISD response, TEA sustains the findings in its preliminary report and maintains the recommendation of appointing a conservator that will work with DeSoto ISD to identify the issues that led to the non-compliance, and report to the agency on the development of a corrective action plan to address the issue, in accordance with Tex. Educ. Code §§39.057(d), 39A.001(2), and 39A.002(7).

DeSoto ISD will conduct a hearing by the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees to notify the public of the District’s insufficient performance, the improvements in performance expected by the agency and the interventions and sanctions that may be imposed under this section if the performance does not improve, in accordance with Tex. Educ. Code §39A.002(2).

DeSoto ISD is required to post notice of this hearing as a public meeting to ensure that the general public is allowed to attend and may not limit the number of speakers who would like to address the board, nor may the board limit the amount of time any speaker takes to make their statements regarding DeSoto ISD’s non-compliance with Tex. Educ. Code §§11.051, 11.1511, and 44.031.

The agency reserves the right to implement all available interventions and sanctions under Tex. Educ. Code Chapter 39A, and Title 19 Tex. Admin. Code, Chapter 97, to address the current, or and future, deficiencies identified for DeSoto ISD.

Speakers may not address past nor present issues dealing with personnel experiences relative to specific individuals currently or formerly employed by the DeSoto ISD or who currently or formerly served on the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees.

Speakers may not discuss complaints against those currently or formerly employed by the DeSoto ISD or who currently or formerly served on the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees; the District has a separate protocol for such matters.

Speakers who do not adhere to the above criteria for allowable topics for public commentary will be issued a warning and reminder to remain on topic. Those who choose to violate these rules of engagement will be muted and subject to removal from the public hearing.

If a person wishes to speak but did not pre-register, he or she may submit a comment here to be read aloud at the conclusion of the live-streamed public hearing prior to its adjournment. This link will be disabled at 7:30 PM.

For questions or assistance during the live-streamed, virtual public forum, please direct an email to [email protected] for support.

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