Q&A: Executive sessions and Open Door Law

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Q: What are the limitations on the Open Door Law provision that allows school boards to hold an executive session “with an outside consultant about the performance of the role of the members as public officials?” A local school district wants to use this provision to discuss how it will proceed with a search for a new superintendent.

A: The purpose of this language is to allow school districts to provide board development opportunities to its members – often individuals who have no prior board experience – in a setting where they can ask what some might call dumb questions without the risk of public embarrassment.

The exception is for training only. The school board in question should not make any decisions as to how it may conduct the search during the executive session. The public should have the opportunity to hear the debate over the process and determine how much public input the school board is encouraging or limiting

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