Q&A: Unannounced meeting

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From Vevay Reveille-Enterprise and The Switzerland Democrat (Vevay):

Q: Would an unannounced meeting of the school board to discuss items it wants placed on the agenda by the school superintendent for the next public meeting be in violation of the Open Door Law?  

A: Yes. Even though the school board argues that it wasn’t a meeting because no votes were taken, the elements of a meeting under the Open Door Law [IC 5-14-1.5-2(c)] are a quorum taking official action on public business.

Official action is defined in IC 5-14-1.5-2(d) as receiving information, deliberating, making recommendations, establishing policy, making decisions or taking final action.

Deciding what items should be discussed or not at the regular meeting of the school board would be official action on public business.

If a majority of the school board was gathered for that purpose, they had a meeting, and the board should have properly notified the media and public.

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

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