FAIRFIELD — School board members plan to listen and respond to community comments and concerns next week during a town hall-style meeting.

The forum — set for April 25 at 7 p.m. — is the Board of Education’s fifth town hall-style meeting over the past two years and the first since semiannual town hall meetings were added to the board’s bylaws in December. At the meeting, community members can raise any topic outside of personnel issues, which the board does not discuss in public. Unlike public comment during a regular meeting, questions or comments are not limited to three minutes and board members can respond, opening the chance for a dialogue between the elected representatives and residents.

“It’s important for people to feel they have a voice, that they can speak out and ask questions and get feedback from board members,” Board Secretary Jessica Gerber said. “People want to feel that they have a voice. This gives people the opportunity to do that.”

As a board member, Gerber is glad for the opportunity to respond to community members to answer questions, correct misinformation or have a “back-and-forth dialogue.” She also hopes the town hall meetings will bring new insights the board hasn’t thought of and the chance for both board and community members to learn something new from their exchanges.

“You always want to get a different perspective,” Gerber said.

The board held its first town hall-style meeting in February of 2015, followed by two more that year. In 2016, the board held a town hall in October where the discussion primarily centered on the district’s racial imbalance plan, among other scattered concerns. Gerber expects next week’s topics might include the education budget and racial imbalance plan, though community members can raise any non-personnel topic.

The town hall will be held in the Board of Education conference room at its 501 Kings Highway East offices and moderated by Board of Finance Chairman Tom Flynn.

lweiss@hearstmediact.com; @LauraEWeiss16