Public seating limited at next school board meeting

Posted April 1, 2010 4:13 p.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2010 4:27 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County Board of Education announced plans Thursday to control crowding at the next public meeting, scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Those who wish to attend can claim a voucher for seating beginning at 10:30 a.m. that day at the system's Administration Building, 3600 Wake Forest Road.

There will be 153 vouchers available, based upon the capacity of the board meeting room, the announcement on the Wake County Public School System Web site says.

As people leave the room, vouchers will be recycled and additional people will be allowed inside.

Tuesday's meeting will be the second time the school board uses tickets to control the crowd size. At its last public meeting, on March 23, board chairman Ron Margiotta said he set time limits on public comments and implemented the ticket policy to adhere to building fire codes and other safety concerns.

Attorneys for local news organizations, including WRAL-TV and The News & Observer, argued that the limit would "unfairly prevent many parents and other members of the public" from attending, which violates the state's open meetings laws.

The news organizations offered to pay for the board to move the meeting to downtown Raleigh in the Fletcher Opera Theater at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Margiotta described the offer as "generous" but declined, saying the offer came too late to make a change.