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Holding A Public Meeting

The Public Meeting is required for your school to be eligible for E-rate funding. The Children's Internet Protection Act provides the following guidelines for the meeting:

An authority with responsibility for the K-12 school must "provide reasonable public notice and hold at least 1 public hearing or meeting to address the proposed Internet use policy."

The minimal guidelines allow for flexibility in how to handle the meeting, but creates problems if the meeting is not managed effectively. Managing the meeting effectively will provide greater communication, generate community support and minimize the potential for conflict. To run the meeting effectively some standard meeting tactics have been provided.
  • Be Prepared - Just like when conducting any meeting it is important to remain in control of the situation.
  • Develop a clear and understood agenda.
  • Know what points you will make.
  • Anticipate the expected audience response to your points.
  • Anticipate expected questions from the audience.
  • Develop a plan for closing the meeting.
  • After the meeting, members from the school should discuss points and issues raised.

Suggested Discussion Points:

  • Discuss the facts for calling the public meeting. The public meeting is required by law in order to retain E-rate funding.
  • In December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed a law requiring technology protection measures and compliance standards be implemented in order to retain federal E-rate and Title II-D funding.
  • Some restrictions of the legislation may be contentious. Make it clear that aside from not receiving financial assistance there is little that can be done. This may help keep the meeting focused on the objective of educating the public about the Internet Acceptable Use Policy and listening to their concerns.
  • Outline how the school is reaching compliance.
  • Talk with the audience about how the technology ultimately is an educational tool that will help teachers and students get the most out of the Internet
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