The Public Meetings Law applies to all meetings of a quorum of a governing body for which a quorum is required in order to make a decision or to deliberate toward a decision on any matter. Even if a meeting is for the sole purpose of gathering information to serve as the basis for a subsequent decision or recommendation by the governing body, the meetings law will apply. This requirement serves the policy expressed at ORS 192.620 that an informed public must be aware not only of the decisions of governing bodies but also of “the information upon which such decisions were made.”
Since the NSSD Board consists of seven members, a "quorum" means four members. While it is possible for the board to hold a meeting with only four members present, in order for any motion to pass, they must vote unanimously. A majority vote (4) means a majority of the entire board and not just of those present. For example, if all 7 members are present and 4 members vote yes and 3 members vote no, a motion passes. If only 5 members are present and 3 vote yes and 2 vote no, the motion fails because it failed to receive a majority of the full board.
All regular, special and emergency meetings of the Board will be open to the public except as provided by law. Access to and the ability to attend all meetings (excluding executive sessions) by telephone, video or other electronic or virtual means will be made available when reasonably possible.
THREE TYPES OF MEETINGS
Regular—A regular meeting is generally one that is included on the official school year board calendar that is approved at the annual organizational meeting (typically in July). For NSSD, these are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month. This may also include a work session that is regularly scheduled annually, such as the Leadership Team Goals Workshop.
Special—Special meetings can be called as needed to conduct any business and includes any meeting that is scheduled after the board calendar is approved at the annual organizational meeting. As much notice as possible should be provided, but 24 hours’ notice is required. The Board can conduct any type of business at a special meeting.
Emergency—Emergency meetings can be held only in the case of an actual emergency that justifies less than 24 hours’ notice. Only matters relating to the emergency can be discussed or acted upon at the emergency meeting.
Executive sessions can be held during a regular, special or emergency meeting as an agenda item, but are not stand-alone meetings. The general public is not allowed to observe executive sessions and no board action may occur during these sessions. Minutes must be kept for the executive session, but those minutes are not released to the public. The media is allowed to attend executive sessions except meetings relating to labor negotiations, to expel a student, to discuss a student’s confidential medical record or for litigation in which the reporter or media is involved.
EXECUTIVE SESSION can be held for the following reasons: ORS 192.660
>To consider the employment of a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent. ORS 192.660(2)(a). The AG manual specifies that this is only for the initial hiring of an individual. This does not apply to appointing a board member to fill a vacancy. There are additional advertising and procedural requirements found in ORS 192.660(7)(d).
>To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaint or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing. ORS 192.660(2)(b). The person addressed in the complaint must be notified in order to give them the opportunity to request an open session.
>To conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to carry on labor negotiations. ORS 192.660(2)(d). The actual labor negotiations must be held in open session unless both parties agree to hold them in executive session. ORS 192.660(3).
>To conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to negotiate real property transactions. ORS 192.660(2)(e).
>To consider records exempt by law from public inspection. ORS 192.660(2)(f).
>To consult with counsel concerning the legal rights and duties of a public body with regard to current litigation or litigation likely to be filed. ORS 192.660(2)(h).
>To review and evaluate the performance of the chief executive officer, employee or staff member, unless the person whose performance is being reviewed and evaluated requests an open hearing. ORS 192.660(2)(i).
>To consider matters relating to school safety or a plan that responds to safety threats made toward a school. ORS 192.660(2)(k).
>To conduct a hearing on the expulsion of a student or to review a student’s confidential medical records. ORS 332.061(1).
Resources to help explain Oregon's public records and meetings law including running effective meetings. To read the Oregon Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual available on the Oregon Dept. of Justice/Attorney General website, click on the link.
(Information on this page is provided by OSBA-Oregon School Boards Association)
What? When? Where? Why?
The Agenda Items Annual Calendar is included in the board meeting materials each month. This includes a breakdown of the typical agenda items that occur during each month of the calendar year. To view the calendar, click on the icon below.
How do board meetings work?
The board chair calls the meeting to order and asks for a motion to approve the agenda and, assuming this occurs, proceeds to guide them through it. All meeting materials are available online through a 3rd party vendor called BoardBook. This system catalogues all previous meetings and serves as the public notice/access for all meetings. Board members have their own user ID to log in.
Typically, a meeting starts with reports from various staff, students and administrators. This is usually a time for the board to listen and ask questions. There is an agenda item for the public to address the board. This can be used by members of the public to inform the board of things happening in the community or for staff, students, families or the general public to share comments with the board. Speakers may offer objective criticism of school operations and programs. However, the law prohibits the board from hearing complaints regarding any personally identifiable District staff member. The board’s role during public comment is not to immediately respond, but to listen. If there is follow-up necessary, the board chair will direct the superintendent to do so.
Now let's get down to business!
The board typically makes the majority of motions under the NEW or UNFINISHED BUSINESS agenda items. These may include things such as budget appropriations, authorizing the purchase of new curriculum or approving the school calendar. The board chair states the motion and, if necessary, explains the repercussions of the vote. If the agenda item includes a presentation or explanation to the board, the board chair will defer to the appropriate person to do so. After the presentation, it is appropriate for the board chair to request a motion be made and seconded before further discussion takes place. Only then should they recognize a speaker, to discuss only the motion on the floor. The makers of the motion and the second have the right to speak first. If there is no motion to discuss the agenda item, the board chair should move to the next agenda item.
Assuming there is a motion (and a second) for discussion, after the vote is taken the board chair should state for the record whether the motion passes or fails and the vote count. At that point there should be no further discussion on that motion.
What is a Consent Agenda?
It is an agenda item that consists of routine business that requires action but not necessarily discussion and voted on in a block. If a board member wants to discuss an item, it will be pulled off the consent agenda and considered under its own motion.