The agenda, prepared by the board chair and the superintendent, is the most important document at any board meeting. (Board Policy BDDC)
Arrange the agenda to most effectively manage meetings:
Establish a consent agenda. Items of routine business that require action but not necessarily discussion can be placed on a consent agenda and voted on in a block. If a board member wants to discuss an item, it will be pulled off the consent agenda and considered under its own motion.
Limit public comment. Although the law requires that the board meet and perform its duties in public, there is no provision in the law that requires the board to listen to the public at their meetings. Under most circumstances, however, opportunities for the audience to be heard should be included. Limiting public comment to a few minutes at the beginning or end of a board meeting or placing a two- or three-minute limit on each speaker is appropriate.
Limit board comment. The period on the agenda for board member comment and the time allotted to each board member to make comments may have time limits, also.
Challenge agenda items for their importance. In preparing the agenda, the board chair should always ask the following questions:
Does this item need to be here?
Is this board work or administrative work?
Do we have a policy on this and, if so, what does it say?
Following the agenda
The agenda delineates what needs to be accomplished in the meeting, the order in which it should be done and who is responsible for each action. The board chair should have the ability to observe and actively listen throughout the meeting, while staying focused on the agenda. If anyone interferes with the order of the meeting, it is the chair’s responsibility to get the meeting back on track.
Remember that discussion should be limited to a specific topic (normally a motion on the floor) and that only one person may be recognized to speak at any given moment — that person being recognized by the chair. As each agenda item is completed, it is the chair’s responsibility to move to the next item and not allow further discussion on a topic that has already been acted upon.