Public Comments and School Board Budgets

Harry Deitz:

Senior editors in our newsroom had an interesting debate after the late afternoon news meeting one day last week: When should the public comment on school budgets?
Two of us believe the commenting should take place throughout the entire budget process and intensify after a tentative budget is presented by the school board. Two others argued that the majority of the public debate should take place just before the tentative budget is approved and made public. They believe that a tentative budget is basically a final budget, and at that point the public has little influence.
We all agreed on the importance of public involvement and commenting, and state law requires that citizens be given the opportunity to address these issues in a public forum.