How to give testimony at the Seattle Public Schools board meeting

SPS has a page with instructions for attending and giving testimony at board meetings, but parent Liza Rankin has some additional pro tips, especially on reserving a Wednesday spot on the Monday before:

I usually type up a quick email ahead of time and then right at 8:01 hit send. If you send it before 8 they won’t count it. I find emailing easier than calling in. You have to include name, phone, email address. My email is something like: 

“I would like to request speaking time for the board meeting on ________. My topic is ______.

email address”

You can have people reserve times who might not want to speak themselves, just to get the slots, but the catch is that to give your time to someone else, you must be present at the meeting. So say you signed up to speak but were giving your time to me, we’d both need to be there in person and go up to the podium together, and you’d say into the mic “I cede my time to Liza Rankin” and then I could speak. No one can speak twice, so if I was also signed up myself, that wouldn’t work. Testimony is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm and the list of speakers gets posted online by 5pm the night before the meeting.

You cannot discuss personnel in testimony, so they’ll stop you if you say “person xyz wasn’t helpful” or “our prinicpal xyz” but you can say “we were not consulted or given any notice about these changes from district or building administration” or similar. Even though each person only gets 2 minutes to talk, you can print out additional info for the board and bring it with you.

The next board meeting is this coming Wednesday, 11/15, at 4:15, so that means requests to testify need to be sent at 8am this Monday. This is a good venue for all sorts of parent concerns, from the situation with our buses to just how problems relate to negative experiences for kids.