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Board of Education

Public Participation

Ways to Participate

Public Hearings 

The Board of Education schedules public hearings on issues it determines to be of widespread interest and concern. A quorum of the Board is not required to be present for a hearing to be conducted. In  addition to special public hearings, the Board holds hearings on its annual operating budget, proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) as  necessary, and school boundaries. Hearings for the proposed capital budget and CIP and/or boundaries are governed by Board Policy FAA, Educational Facilities Planning.
General guidelines for public hearings are as follows:

1. The subject, date, and opportunities for sign-up for a public hearing are typically publicized through the Board’s customary communications channels, including being posted on the Board’s website and through a release to the news media.
2. The agenda for the hearing is closed when the maximum number of
speakers is registered or at the close of business the day before the hearing, unless otherwise specified by the Board in the hearing notice.
3. The following time limits for testimony apply to public hearings, unless otherwise specified by the Board in the hearing notice:
   Organizations*/Municipalities/Elected Officials     5 minutes
   Individuals                                                             3 minutes

For operating budget and CIP hearings, students, elected officials, municipalities,
and the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations (MCCPTA)
shall be accorded the opportunity to testify first, followed by PTAs and then, on
a first-come, first-served basis, individuals and civic and countywide organizations. Usually, MCCPTA cluster coordinators, in consultation with the local PTA
presidents, will coordinate testimony on behalf of local PTAs and notify the
Board Office of speakers within their allotted cluster time. Alternatively, such testimony may be coordinated by MCCPTA area vice presidents, in which case,
testimony may be grouped by areas and time allotted differently than stated
above. Cluster coordinators and area vice presidents are strongly encouraged to
ensure that diversity of opinions is accommodated when scheduling testimony.
A person calling to speak may reserve only one space. Only one speaker will be
registered for any organization, unless the Board provides otherwise. Individuals and organizations may not cede time to others who have signed up. Elected
officials are given the courtesy of being placed on the agenda at the time of
their choice.

4. For all other hearings and forums not governed by a specific Board policy, all speakers are accorded 3 minutes to present their testimony. A person calling to speak may reserve only one space. Only one speaker will be registered for any organization. Individuals and organizations may not cede time to others who have signed up.
5. Speakers are requested to submit their testimony electronically to the Board of Education Office at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing. If the testimony is not provided in advance, speakers are requested to provide 20 copies of their  statement at the hearing, for distribution to the Board, staff, and press.
6. Generally, public hearings are recorded, televised, and transmitted via
7. If the speakers are not present at their designated time, every effort will be made to accommodate their testimony prior to adjournment of the meeting.
8. To expedite the hearing, Board members and the superintendent of schools will limit their participation solely to asking questions of the speakers or requesting follow-ups by staff. Copies of follow-up responses to questions raised will typically be posted on the Board’s website.
9. Written statements submitted in lieu of testimony will be given equal consideration, but, in order to be considered, they must reach the Board no later than 48 hours before the time scheduled for action by the Board. 

*Organizations include: Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association/Montgomery County Junior Councils, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Parents Council, community organizations, MCCPTA, clusters, and the employee associations. This includes individuals who are providing collective advocacy or a position on behalf of an organization (but not members of organizations who are speaking in their individual capacity). 

Submission of Testimony and Deadlines   

Once an individual or organization is registered to provide testimony, a confirmation email with testimony instructions will be sent. Please adhere to the submission deadline and instructions which will be included in your confirmation email. Please send your testimony to

Testimonies that do not adhere to submission instructions will be returned and may potentially lose the speaking slot.   

The agenda with the list of speakers will be posted no later than noon on the day of the hearing at

Broadcasts of Public Hearings and Interpreter Services   

All hearings are available to view live (and will be available after the hearings on demand) on the MCPS webpage:    

Hearings also will be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 34 (HD 1071), Verizon FIOS Channel 36, RCN Channel 89, MCPS home page, and MCPS YouTube Channel

Additional information about public hearings may be found in the Board of Education Handbook  

Public Comments at Board Meetings

The Board of Education designates time, during regular board business meetings, for public comments.  The Board is interested in hearing a broad range of perspectives from the community during this time.  The process for signing up and providing public testimony is outlined below.  If you have questions regarding this process, please submit them to

 A.    Sign-Up InstructionsRegular Board Business Meeting Public Comment

Individuals may sign-up to provide public comment at the next Board of Education business meeting HERE. The sign-up period typically opens to the public one week before the business meeting at 6:00 p.m., unless notified otherwise.  

The meeting will be open to the public and in-person public comments will be permitted. The Board also will continue to accept pre-recorded audio and video submissions for individuals who wish to remain virtual. All testimonies will be made available to the public on BoardDocs. Individuals who wish to provide public comments will register using the online registration form and will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.   

In addition to the online sign-ups, the Board will return to the practice of in person, same day sign-ups when space allows. Unallocated slots may be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, on the day of the meeting.

In order to sign-up in person, please arrive at least 15-20 minutes before the start of the open session and sign the form. In person sign-ups will close 15 minutes before public comment begins or when all slots are filled. 

 Safety Procedures for In-Person Observation and Public Comments     
  • Please avoid in-person attendance if you have symptoms of illness.

  • Congregating in the hallways and doorways will be prohibited.

  • Signs larger than an 8.5” x 11” will be prohibited.

B.     Sign-Up Confirmations  

Up to 20 speakers, will be accepted to provide public comments.  These speakers will be accepted as follows:

     1) Agenda - The first ten (10) individual speakers who sign up to speak to an agenda item will be accepted to provide testimony. 

     2) Non-Agenda - The first five (5) individual speakers who sign up to speak to a non-agenda item, will be accepted to provide comments.

     3) Associations/Organizations – Five (5) speaking slots are reserved for associations and organizations and may be used to speak to an agenda item. Upon registration, three of these slots will be reserved for the following associations: Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals/Montgomery County Business and Operations Administrators (MCAAP/MCBOA); 2) Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA); and 3) Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 500. Please note: If associations do not register, slots may be offered to other individuals/organizations who signed up to testify. The other two reserved slots are for any community or school organizations or associations and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

     4) Exceptions - The Board reserves the right to limit the number of speakers and/or similar perspectives on a particular agenda topic.  When the Board receives more requests than the allotted number of testimony slots available, registrations from individuals who have testified at a regular board business meeting within the last 30 calendar days may be declined, so that others may have an opportunity to testify.  

In the event that the slots reserved for associations/organizations are not filled, those speaking slots will be offered to those individuals who have signed up to speak on an agenda topic on a first-come, first-served basis.   

   C.    Public Comment Format & Content

Each individual speaker, association and organization will receive two (2) minutes to provide testimony. 

Once the slots for public comment are filled, speakers will receive a confirmation email with instructions about how to prepare video/audio comments for submission. Please adhere to the submission deadline and instructions which will be included in the confirmation email. All written, video and audio, comments for the meeting should be submitted to    

This is not the proper avenue to address specific student or employee matters, especially those matters on appeal to the Board. Comments about the actions or statements of individual staff members are not appropriate for Public Comment and should be referred to the Superintendent of Schools or processed through available channels. 

Those who are not able to sign up or not selected to provide comments during the meeting, may email comments to Emails sent to this address are automatically distributed to all Board members and leadership staff.   

Additional information about public comments may be found in the Board of Education Handbook.