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School Board tweaks open meeting policy

The District 833 School Board is changing its meeting policy after a dust-up involving the state Open Meeting Law earlier this year.

The board had been meeting twice a month with a workshop on the first Thursday with discussion items only and no votes. Regular meetings were held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

But last December the board held a workshop that included a closed session outside its normal meeting time. The timing of that closed session -- which was held to conduct a performance review of former Superintendent Mark Porter -- and subsequent board action led the Bulletin to request that a state review whether the board violated the Open Meeting Law. A state opinion concluded there was a violation.

Superintendent Keith Jacobus said last week the district will change the board's meeting format to avoid "issues we had in the past with the Open Meeting Law." Jacobus was hired after the meeting violation.

Moving forward, the board will have two regular meetings a month beginning at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays. Additionally, a workshop will be scheduled from 6-7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month.

Without discussion, board members on Sept. 13 also agreed to suspend formal meeting rules during their workshop sessions, "so all voices can be heard," Jacobus said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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