Changes to security measures, agenda at FUSD trustee meetings

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Changes are coming to Fresno Unified School District board meetings.

After tense moments at a meeting two weeks ago, there will now be more security along with a different structure to the agenda.

"We just want to take those extra precautionary measures to make sure that once we enter the board room, nothing outside of the normal actions would happen," said Keshia Thomas, FUSD Trustee.

Going forward, new safety measures include metal detectors upon entering the board room and more security personnel provided by Fresno Police will be monitoring the crowd.

The format of the agenda will change to no longer include communication between the Board and Superintendent, and in-person public comment on individual agenda items has been removed.

The public can now submit written comments prior to meetings for specific items. The general public comment period has been moved to the end of the agenda.

"We are not saying you can't speak to those items, you just can't do it 'right now,'" said Thomas.

The changes come after friction during a board meeting a couple of weeks ago. Chaos began when Fresno resident Jessica Mahoney came to the podium during the public comment portion of the meeting to discuss the failed attempt to recall trustee Terry Slatic from the board.

RELATED: Fresno Unified board meeting abruptly ends following heated exchange

A heated exchange between Slatic and Mahoney ensued and other board members adjourned the meeting early. Mahoney says she's pleased to see the board making changes for the better but has some reservations.

"I am concerned about putting public comment at the end," said Mahoney. "People are tired, they want to go home, are they are really going to listen to everybody? Is it going to be fair? And can people hold the decorum?"

It wasn't the first time that an FUSD meeting saw this type of tension. Last August, a filibuster by Slatic eventually caused the meeting to come to a close.

Trustee Slatic says these changes weren't warranted. He questions why metal detectors are needed at the district building if they aren't on school campuses.

"How many formal complaints did we actually have about security? The answer is zero," he said.

Slatic says he plans to make a motion to address the removal of board-superintendent communication.

"Nothing will change," said Slatic. "Because nothing needed to be changed."

Fresno Unified Trustees will meet with new meeting protocols in effect starting Wednesday at 5:45 pm.
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