What is the 281 School Board hiding from the public?

Speed Gibson blog notes an interesting and disturbing trend with increasing “work sessions” that are closed to the public and press (bold emphasis mine).

Earlier, I wrote about how local governments seem to be holding more work sessions. Critics quoted in the original Minneapolis Star Tribune article feel that too much important business is finding its way into these meetings, away from TV cameras and routine press coverage. Based on my own experiences, though, I didn’t see much of a problem as these meetings are public by law, with few exceptions.

I may have to reconsider, given tonight’s meeting of the District 281 School Board, held tonight, September 15.

  1. The meeting is not listed on the District web site, even now. This also means no agenda was published.
  2. The meeting is still listed as a under announcements in last week’s Agenda.
  3. It is also referenced in a Web article about the upcoming Facilities Study, to be discussed at that work session.
  4. The agenda handed out says “Work/Special Session” meaning that they will go into formal session for a portion of the meeting, which was not televised.
  5. Ryan Development and The City of New Hope made presentations on the proposed relocation of District headquarters and the bus garage. This was major content and should have been done in a regular, televised session in my opinion.
  6. As such, the ESC boardroom was overcrowded. At a minimum, the adjoining overflow area should have been opened.

I’m hoping this was an anomaly, as they were clearly having some technical issues with the web site the past few days. But nothing even hinted at going into session, i.e., where votes could be taken. I wonder if such votes could be legally challenged, given that there was no notice.

The Board needs to address this administrative lapse, making clear just what their policy is regarding giving notice, including agendas. Their policy on receiving significant external input at work sessions and special sessions should also be clarified.

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