Q&A: Charter school board meeting notice


Submitted by The Herald-Times (Bloomington):

Q: Seven Oaks Classical School is a charter school that just got authorized by Grace College. The school is authorized to open in the fall of 2016. I received notice of a meeting of the charter school’s board on Saturday, Jan. 30 that they would be holding a meeting on Monday, Feb. 1. Do public access laws apply as soon as a charter school is authorized or will they begin to apply once the school opens?

If public access laws apply, it seems like this meeting was in violation of the 48-hour requirement for public agencies to notify the media of a meeting. What do you think?

A: I would say the formation of the charter school board triggers its need to comply with the Open Door Law. Yes, charter school boards do fall under the scope of the Open Door Law thanks to the state legislature.

I’m guessing the school board is still learning the nuances of the notice requirements. They do have to give you 48 hours notice, but they hopefully didn’t realize that weekends and holidays don’t count. So yes, the notice was deficient.

My suggestion is that since this is a first offense and probably not intentional, the newspaper should tactfully bring it to their attention as a teachable moment.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.