A board meeting agenda can do so much more than list the topics to be covered. Ideally, it provides visual clues that impose structure in three ways:
As the agenda serves as public notice of a meeting, it can also invite requests for accommodations, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The resulting agenda will set the stage for an uncommonly productive meeting. It’s easy to set one up by following this template:
MUNICIPAL AGENDA TEMPLATE
Name of the School District.
Date. Time. Location.
Statement of ADA compliance, with invitation to request particular accommodations.
[Some districts have the Pledge of Allegiance here.]
Vote on: (1) minutes of the last meeting; and (2) reports of the committees of the board – e.g., Personnel, Finance, Security. Acknowledgment that minutes and reports were predistributed.
IV. Business of the board – 4:30 p.m. Each item in this section must be ushered
through the stages of discussion, motion and voting. The agenda should clearly
indicate if each item is up for preliminary discussion or resumed discussion in light
of new information from committee investigation or outside expert input. If the
school board needs to vote to approve a measure, that fact should be indicated on
the agenda. Some boards require that votes be taken in a later meeting than the
meeting in which it was discussed. Whatever the case, the agenda must clarify
the action(s) to be taken on each item.
A. Old Business. These items are taken from past agendas. Any business that
was tabled or sent to committee should receive discussion here. Any business
that was discussed but not voted on should be up for a vote here.
1. Item a. Discuss. (History of board action on issue and location of related
2. Item b. Resume Discussion in Light of Committee Research. (History of
board action on issue and location of related documents)
3. Item c. Vote (History of board action on issue and location of
B. New Business. These items have not appeared on previous agendas. Most
will be at the discussion stage. Some boards allow them to proceed from
discussion to vote within a single meeting.
1. Item a. Discuss (Location of related documents)
2. Item b. Discuss (Location of related documents)
3. Item c. (Location of related documents)
V. Public Testimonies – 5:00 p.m. If the public is invited to meetings and
permitted to speak, preregistration to speak on specific topics can keep mayhem at
bay. It is the chair’s prerogative to impose time limits on each speaker. Posting time
limits on the agenda makes it far easier to cut off a speaker in the course of the
meeting without appearing biased. This section of the agenda then looks like this:
VI. Adjournment – 5:30 p.m.
April 4, 2018. 4:00 p.m.
Town of Emerald City, Land of Oz
Town Hall: 525 Yellow Brick Road, Emerald City
Emerald City is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you require assistance in participating at a public meeting due to a disability, as defined under the ADA, reasonable assistance, adaptations or accommodations will be provided upon request. Please contact the City Secretary’s Office, at least three (3) days prior to the scheduled meeting date, at (201) 555-1111 or Town Hall at 525 Yellow Brick Road for additional information; TTY users route through Relay Oz at 711.
I. Call to Order – 4:00 p.m.
A. General Welcome to Audience
C. Roll Call
II. Consent Agenda – 4:05 p.m.
Vote to approve:
III. Mayor’s Report – 4:10 p.m.
IV. Business Action Items – 4:30 p.m.
V. Public Testimonies – 5:15 p.m.
VI. Adjournment – 6:00 p.m.
With such an agenda, a meeting is virtually destined to cover all the business facing a town or county, moving each issue closer to completion. A fully informed board and audience will give needed attention to each issue before them, neither suppressing discussion nor losing control as bellicose participants try to derail the conversation. By following this detailed template, a board chair sets herself up for a smooth meeting that really takes care of business.