Kansas City Public Schools Board Chair Nate Hogan listens to Alicia Black-Mackey speak about her concerns with changes at Paseo Academy during the public comment period of a school board meeting July 21, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Zach Bauman/The Beacon)

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Editor’s note: This story was updated Aug. 12, 2021, to add entries for Independence School District, Blue Springs School District, Liberty Public Schools, Park Hill School District and Raytown Quality Schools. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect how some school boards conduct their meetings, while in other districts things are returning to normal.

But regardless of district protocols, it is always possible to get involved in school board meetings, whether you just want to know what the board is discussing or to provide your own input. 

Here’s how to attend, watch or submit comments to a school board meeting in several large Kansas City-area districts. 

To jump to a specific school district, click these links: 

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

The school board holds regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5 p.m., with a few exceptions around holidays and breaks. A full schedule is available on the district website.

The district has not reopened school board meetings to in-person attendance from the public. They are typically held in the central office, 2010 N. 59th St. 

To watch a regular meeting live, tune in to the district’s YouTube channel. Special meetings happen outside the normal timeframe and are held over Zoom. You can find links for either type of meeting, as well as full agendas with linked documents, by clicking on the meeting date on the district’s meetings page

Zoom links won’t work after the meeting has ended, while YouTube links will take you to a recording of the meeting even if you’re too late for the livestream. 

You can also view meetings on KCKPS-TV.

If you want to submit a community comment at a meeting, contact board clerk Leslie Smith by noon the day before the meeting is scheduled. 

She can be reached at Leslie.Smith@kckps.org or 913-484-3018. 

Comments are limited to three minutes and must be about policy issues or general concerns rather than criticism of specific individuals. Comments about items on the board agenda are given when the topic comes up for discussion. 

Biographies and emails for board members are also available online. 

Olathe Public Schools

The school board holds regular meetings once a month, generally at 6 p.m. the first Thursday. Regular meeting dates are listed on the board’s webpage.

The board holds special meetings when important business comes up outside of normal meeting times. They are listed on the district calendar

Agendas and other documents for all meetings are available on BoardDocs. 

Unless otherwise noted on the website or the district calendar, meetings are held at the Education Center, 14160 S. Black Bob Road, Olathe, and the public can attend in person.

You can also view live or recorded meetings by going to the district’s YouTube page or find links to recordings on a list on the website. The district sells DVD copies of board meetings for $15 each, according to its website.

To make a public comment, submit a request by noon the day of the meeting. Contact board clerk Joy Bondurant at 913-780-8049 or jbondurantec@olatheschools.org

A school board brochure explains the process for commenting. Comments are limited to five minutes and should not include personal attacks. 

Phone numbers, email addresses and biographies of all board members are available on the district website. 

Shawnee Mission School District

The school board holds most of its meetings at 5:30 p.m. the second and fourth Monday of each month, with some exceptions. The 2021-22 schedule is available online, as are agendas and documents for meetings. 

Meetings are located in the boardroom of the Center for Academic Achievement, 8200 W. 71st St. They are open for in-person attendance with limited seating. 

The district also streams and posts board meetings on YouTube

Board clerk Terry Wintering, available at 913-993-6401 or at terrywintering@smsd.org, is the contact person for public comment. 

District staff and members of the public attend a Kansas City Public Schools school board meeting July 21, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Zach Bauman/The Beacon)

To make a public comment, the district asks for requests by 3:30 p.m. the Friday before a board meeting to allow the district to research and potentially address concerns. 

However, the hard deadline to sign up for public comment is noon the day of the meeting. Comments are typically limited to three minutes or less.

Complaints about specific staff or students may be allowed if you have already been through the complaint process with district administration, but the board will hear them in a nonpublic session. 

Emails, phone numbers and short bios of board members are available on the district website.

Blue Valley Schools

Regular school board meetings typically take place at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, according to a school board calendar that extends through October. Board workshop meetings happen at 8 a.m. the same day.

Meetings are in the board of education room at the district office, 15020 Metcalf Ave.,

Overland Park. Agendas and documents are available online

Members of the public may attend in person, though seating is limited due to social distancing. Masks are strongly encouraged for those who are not vaccinated. 

You can also view meetings live on the district’s YouTube channel. Recordings of past meetings are on the channel and linked at the bottom of the school board web page

The district’s board clerk, Sarah Vaughn, can be reached at 913-239-4033 or SVaughn@bluevalleyk12.org

The school board sets aside one hour each meeting for public comment. Up to 20 people can speak during that time for about three minutes each. 

The online request form to participate opens at noon one business day before a scheduled meeting. It closes at noon the day of the meeting or when 20 participants have registered. 

The district’s website includes a list of board members with links to longer bios and email addresses. 

North Kansas City Schools

The school board typically meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month during the school year and less frequently during the summer. A full calendar for the 2021-22 school year is available online

Most meetings are at the Doolin Center, 1900 N.E. 46th St., Kansas City. 

Meetings are livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel. Links to archived meetings going back to March 2020 are posted on the district website.

Agendas, minutes and documents are available online. They are posted at 12:01 a.m. the day before a meeting. 

According to board policies, the school board sets aside up to half an hour at the beginning of the first regular meeting of the month for public comment. Commenters must register in advance, speak only on agenda items and limit their speaking time to three minutes.

Members of the public can request that items be added to the agenda by making a written request to the superintendent five business days in advance. 

The district’s board clerk, Peggy Cole, is reachable at peggy.cole@nkcschools.org or 816-321-4361. 

Basic information about board members, including home addresses, emails and committee assignments, is on the website

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

A proposed schedule for 2021-22 shows most school board meetings are 7 p.m. the third Thursday of the month, with additional work sessions on several first Thursdays. 

Meetings happen in the boardroom at Stansberry Leadership Center, 301 N.E. Tudor Road, Lee’s Summit. Meeting notices say masks are strongly recommended for unvaccinated people.

You can view current and past meetings on the board’s YouTube channel. The district website also describes how to watch the meetings on the Lee’s Summit government access channel.  

Agendas, documents and livestreaming links are available online. 

According to board policy, the board sets aside up to 20 minutes for public comment. The board president determines time limits for individuals.

Comments should directly relate to the district, avoid profanity and not be about individual faculty, staff or students. 

The deadline to sign up to comment is typically 4 p.m. the day before the meeting. Email Linda Ismert, the custodian of records, at Linda.Ismert@LSR7.net.

School board member bios are posted online. They link to a contact form

Kansas City Public Schools

School board meetings take place the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, with some exceptions around holidays. The board gathers at 5:30 p.m. for an executive session — the part of the meeting closed to the public. Meetings open for the public to attend in person or remotely at 6:30 p.m. 

Unless otherwise noted, board meetings take place at the Board of Education Building, 2901 Troost Ave., Kansas City.

Kansas City Public Schools school board members and district staff participate in a school board meeting July 21, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Zach Bauman/The Beacon)

A meeting notice page has announcements of all meetings, including special meetings outside the normal schedule. The page also has links for livestreaming some meetings or information to get conference call audio for others. Meetings are also archived online.

Recent agendas and documents and older ones are also online.   

At regular business meetings, the board invites up to 10 members of the public to comment for up to three minutes each. To sign up, email board@kcpublicschools.org or call 816-418-7621 by 3 p.m. the day of the meeting. Alternatively, sign the Speaking at the Board Meeting sheet at the meeting before 6:15 p.m. the day of the meeting.

The board requires commenters to avoid personal attacks or inappropriate language and gestures. 

Board member photos, positions and email addresses are posted on the district website.

Independence School District

The school board meets the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m., according to the district website. A list of upcoming and past meeting agendas is on the district website along with meeting minutes. 

Meetings are typically held at the district’s central office, 201 N. Forest Ave. The public can attend in person, with face coverings required. No livestream or meeting recording is available. 

The board screens all requests for public comment. If you want to comment, contact the superintendent’s office by 4 p.m. at least a week before the meeting by calling 816-521-5300 and asking for Annette Miller. Miller, the board secretary, is also available at annette_miller@isdschools.org

The board and superintendent will decide whether to place the item on the meeting agenda and allow you to comment. They may refuse to address the item if you have not gone through other appropriate channels to resolve the issue. They can also postpone your comment to a future meeting.

The public comment period is no longer than 30 minutes unless the board decides to extend it. Each person can talk for no more than five minutes. 

A list of board members with biographies and emails is available on the district website. 

Blue Springs School District

Regular board meetings are typically held once a month on Mondays from 6:15-7:15 p.m. The board also holds a workshop some months on a different Monday from 6-7:30 p.m. Check the board calendar online for specific dates. 

The public can attend meetings, typically held at the Bartow Administrative Center at 1801 NW Vesper St., Blue Springs, Missouri. Because of a Jackson County mandate that began Aug. 9, masks are required at least through early September.

Meetings are also livestreamed and archived on the district’s YouTube channel

Agendas and minutes are available on the district website going back to mid-2020. The lists are alphabetical by month name, so click “modified” twice to sort by most recent. 

Members of the public can comment during a regular work session meeting but must register to do so at least 10 days in advance by emailing the board secretary, Karin Kenner, at kkeener@bssd.net

A list of members and their positions on the board is available on the district website. 

Liberty Public Schools

Board meetings are typically held twice a month, at 7 a.m. the first Tuesday and 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday. The meetings are open to the public and take place in the Liberty School District Administration Center, 8 Victory Lane. 

As of Aug. 11, the list of meeting dates had not yet been updated. 

School board meetings are livestreamed and archived on the district’s YouTube channel. Meeting agendas and documents are also available online. 

The school board allows public comment at each regular business meeting, according to board policy. To participate, fill out a request form — available in the foyer — and submit it before the meeting starts. Comments are limited to three minutes per person and should be related to Liberty Public Schools or education.

Board members can waive public participation by majority vote if they feel the meeting is being unnecessarily delayed. 

Members of the public can also request for items to be added to the meeting agenda by contacting the superintendent at least five business days before a meeting. The board may decline to add an item that hasn’t gone through the appropriate grievance process or add it to a later meeting if the agenda is full. 

The email address for Sandra Cockrum, board secretary, is sandra.cockrum@lps53.org

Emails and basic information for board members are on the district website. Longer bios are on a separate page. 

Park Hill School District

The school board typically meets twice a month on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at 7703 NW Barry Road. A full list of meeting dates is available online.  

Members of the public can attend in person, with masks required under the citywide mandate.

Videos of previous board meetings are on the district’s YouTube channel. The district website says upcoming livestreams are available at this YouTube link

Board agendas are available online

The district sends out an emailed summary of the meetings called First Hand. Sign up here

The board allows two periods of public comment during regular meetings, according to board policy. Near the beginning of meetings, comments can cover any topic whether on the agenda or not. Comments near the end of the meeting must address agenda items.

The board sets an overall time limit for public comment as well as a uniform limit for individual comments.  

People wishing to comment can sign up in person immediately before the meeting.

For more information, contact Opal Hibbs, secretary to the superintendent and the board, at 816-359-4050 or hibbso@parkhill.k12.mo.us

To find contact information for board members and read about them and their thoughts on the district, click the link for each member on the left side menu of the main school board page.

Raytown Quality Schools 

School board meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Special board meetings are held as needed on the fourth Monday at 5:30 p.m. A list of board meeting dates for 2021-22 is available online. Recent in-person meetings have been held at 6608 Raytown Road.

Some meeting recordings are linked on the district website, while others are on the district’s YouTube channel

The recordings may be edited for content or length, according to a notice at the beginning of the most recent video. It suggests members of the public attend in person or read meeting minutes for full access. 

Meeting agendas are available online

The board sets aside 30 minutes of each regular meeting for public comment on agenda items. Speakers have five minutes to talk, or three minutes if there are six or more commenters. 

Those wishing to comment must give their name, address and the agenda item they plan to discuss. They must not gossip, defame people or use abusive or vulgar language. 

Members of the public can also request for items to be added to the meeting agenda by contacting the superintendent five business days before a meeting. The board may decline to add an item that hasn’t gone through the appropriate grievance process or add it to a later meeting if the agenda is full. 

A contact form for the Board of Education is available online. Board member bios are on the district’s website. 

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Maria Benevento

Maria Benevento is the education reporter at The Kansas City Beacon. She is a Report for America corps member.