feedback
 

30°F

Clear

Wind: SSW at 4 mph

Windchill: 27°F (-3°C)

As of January 19, 10:55 AM

Students »

  • Each day more than 5,500 students learn and thrive in Moorhead Area Public Schools. We are proud of your successes both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Bullying Prevention

SPUDS Landing »

Parents »

New Families »

Community »

  • From seeing how the district spends tax dollars to providing opportunities for lifelong learning, Moorhead Area Public Schools and the community are partners in education. We welcome your interest.
Lifelong Learning
Open and Closed School Board Meetings
Type: School Board Policy
Section: 200 SCHOOL BOARD
Code: 211
Adopted Date: 8/27/2001
Revised Date(s): 10/10/2005, 10/12/2009, 11/12/2013, 05/08/2017
Reviewed Date(s): 10/10/2005, 10/12/2009, 11/12/2013, 05/08/2017
Attachments:
I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to assure the rights of the public to be present at Moorhead School Board meetings while also protecting the individual's right to privacy under law, and to close meetings when the public interest so requires as recognized by law.

II. GENERAL STATEMENT

A. The School Board embraces the philosophy of openness in the conduct of its business, in the belief that openness produces better programs, more efficiency in administration of programs, and an organization more responsive to public interest and less susceptible to private interest. The School Board shall conduct its business in an open manner. At the same time, the School Board recognizes and respects the privacy rights of individuals as provided by law. There are certain exceptions to the Minnesota Open Meeting Law as recognized in statute where it has been determined that, in limited circumstances, the public interest is best served by closing a meeting of the School Board. 
 
B. Except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, all meetings of the School Board, including executive sessions and work sessions, shall be open to the public.
 
C. Meetings will be closed only when expressly authorized by law.

III. DEFINITION

"Meeting" means a gathering of at least a quorum of the School Board, or quorum of a committee or subcommittee of school board members, at which members discuss, decide, or receive information as a group on issues relating to the official business of the School Board. The term does not include a chance or social gathering or the use of social media by members of a public body so long as the social media use is limited to exchanges with all members of the general public. For purposes of the Open Meeting Law, social media does not include e-mail.

IV. OPEN MEETINGS AND NOTIFICATION

A. Meetings:
 
1. Regular Meetings 
 
At the first regular meeting in July, the School Board will adopt a schedule of regular meetings of the School Board for the following fiscal year. The schedule will be kept on file in the Superintendent's office. If the School Board decides to hold a regular meeting at a place and time different from the one stated in the schedule, a notice for a special meeting will be given. School Board agendas are posted on the district website at www.moorheadschools.org prior to meetings. Members of the press or interested persons may file a request at the Superintendent's office for notification and copies of the agenda of regular and special meetings. Requests for such notices will expire June 30 and require refiling each year.
 
2. Special Meetings 
 
A written notice of the time, date, place and purpose of meeting will be posted at least three (3) days prior to the date of the meeting at the school district administration office. The notice will also be mailed to those who have requested notification of the district's meetings, including the official newspaper of the district, three days prior to the date of the meeting. The School Board's actions at the special meeting are limited to those topics included in the notice.

3. Emergency Meetings
 
An emergency meeting is a special meeting called because of circumstances that, in the judgment of the School Board, require immediate consideration. Notice of the emergency meeting shall be given by telephone, e-mail or any other method used to notify the members of the School Board. Posted or published notice of an emergency meeting shall not be required, however the Board Secretary will make good faith efforts to provide notice of the emergency meeting to each news medium that has requested notification and given a telephone and/or fax number. The information will include the subject of the meeting. If matters not directly related to the emergency are discussed or acted upon, the minutes of the meeting shall include a specific description of those matters.

4. Recessed or Continued Meetings
 
If a meeting is recessed or is a continued session of a previous meeting, and the time and place of the meeting was established during the previous meeting and recorded in the minutes of that meeting, then no further published or mail notice is necessary.
 
5. Closed Meetings
 
The notice requirements of the Minnesota Open Meeting Law apply to closed meetings.
 
6. Actual Notice
 
If a person receives actual notice of a meeting of the School Board at least 24 hours before the meeting, all notice requirements are satisfied with respect to that person regardless of the method of receipt of notice.
 
7. Health Pandemic or Declared Emergency
 
In the event of a health pandemic or an emergency declared under Minn. Stat. Ch. 12, a meeting may be conducted by telephone or other electronic means in compliance with Minn. Stat. 13D.021.
 
B. Votes
 
The votes of School Board members shall be recorded in the School Board minutes and available to the public during normal business hours at the Superintendent's office.

C. Written Materials
 
1. In any open meeting, a copy of the agenda and any printed materials relating to the agenda items prepared or distributed by the School Board or its employees and distributed to or available to all School Board members shall be available at the meeting for inspection by the public while the School Board considers the subject matter.
 
2. This does not apply to materials not classified by law as public, or materials relating to agenda items of a closed meeting.

D. Data
 
1. Meetings may not be closed merely because the data to be discussed is not public data.
 
2. Data that are not public data may be discussed at an open meeting if the disclosure relates to a matter within the scope of the School Board's authority and is reasonably necessary to conduct the business or agenda item before the School Board.
 
3. Data discussed at an open meeting retain the data's original classification; however, a record of the meeting regardless of form, shall be public.

V. CLOSED MEETING PROCEDURES

A. Labor Negotiations Strategy
 
1. The School Board may, by a majority vote in a public meeting, decide to hold a closed meeting to consider labor negotiations strategies or developments, or discuss and review labor negotiation proposals.
 
2. The time and place of the closed meeting will be announced at the public meeting. The proceedings shall be electronically recorded, and the recording preserved for two years after the contract discussed at the meeting is signed. The recording shall be available to the public only after all labor contracts are signed by the School Board for the current budget period. A written roll of School Board members and other's present at the closed meeting shall be available to the public after the closed meeting.

B. Sessions Closed by Bureau of Mediation Services
 
All negotiations, mediation sessions, and hearings between the School Board and its employees or their respective representatives are public meetings. These meetings may be closed only by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS). The use of recording devices, stenographic records, or other recording methods is prohibited in mediation meetings closed by the BMS.

C. Preliminary Consideration of Charges
 
The School Board shall close one or more meetings for preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against an individual subject to its authority. If the School Board members conclude that discipline of any nature may be warranted as a result of those specific charges or allegations, further meetings or hearings relating to those specific charges or allegations held after that conclusion is reached must be open. A meeting must also be open at the request of the individual who is the subject of the meeting. A closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district, and the recording must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting. The recording is not available to the public.

D. Performance Evaluations
 
The School Board may close a meeting to evaluate the performance of an individual who is subject to its authority. The School Board shall identify the individual to be evaluated prior to closing a meeting and at its next open meeting shall summarize its conclusions regarding the evaluation. A meeting must be open at the request of the individual who is the subject of the meeting. A closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district, and the recording must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting. The recording is not available to the public.

E. Attorney-Client Meeting
 
A meeting may be closed if permitted by the attorney-client privilege. Attorney-client privilege applies when litigation is imminent or threatened, or when the School Board needs advice about the level of general legal advice, i.e. regarding specific acts and their legal consequences. A meeting may be closed to seek legal advice concerning litigation strategy, but the mere threat that litigation might be a consequence of deciding a matter one way or another does not, by itself, justify closing the meeting. The motion to close the meeting must specifically describe the matter to be discussed at the closed meeting, subject to relevant policy and confidentiality considerations under state and federal law. The law does not require that such a meeting be recorded.

F. Dismissal Hearing
 
1. A hearing on the dismissal of a licensed teacher shall be public or private at the teacher's discretion. A hearing regarding placement of teachers on unrequested leave of absence shall be public.
 
2. A hearing on dismissal of a student pursuant to the Pupil Fair Dismissal Act shall be closed unless the student, parent/guardian requests an open hearing.
 
3. To the extent a teacher or student dismissal hearing is held before the School Board and is closed, the closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district, and the recording must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting. The recording is not available to the public.
 
G. Coaches; Opportunity to Respond

1. If the School Board has declined to renew the coaching contract of a licensed or nonlicensed head varsity coach, it must notify the coach within 14 days of that decision.
 
2. If the coach requests the reasons for the nonrenewal, the School Board must give the coach the reasons in writing within 10 days of receiving the request.

3. On the request of the coach, the School Board must provide the coach with a reasonable opportunity to respond to the reasons at a School Board meeting.

4. The meeting may be open or closed at the election of the coach unless the meeting is closed as required by Minn. Stat. 13D.05, Subd. 2, to discuss educational or certain other nonpublic data.

5. A closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district, and the recording must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting. The recording is not available to the public. 
 
H. Meetings to Discuss Certain Not Public Data
 
Any portion of a meeting must be closed if the following types of data are discussed:
 
1. data that would identify alleged victims or reporters of criminal sexual conduct, domestic abuse, or maltreatment of minors or vulnerable adults; 
 
2. active investigative data collected or created by a law enforcement agency;
 
3. educational data, health data, medical data, welfare data, or mental health data that are not public data; or
 
4. an individual's personal medical records.
 
5. A closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district, and the recording must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting. The recording is not available to the public.
 
I. Purchase and Sale of Property 
 
1. The School Board may close a meeting:

a. to determine the asking price for real or personal property to be sold by the school district.

b. to review confidential or nonpublic appraisal data; and

c. to develop or consider offers or counteroffers for the purchase or sale of real or personal property.
 
2. Before closing the meeting, the School Board must identify on the record the particular real or personal property that is the subject of the closed meeting.
 
3. The closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district. The recording must be preserved for eight years after the date of the meeting and be made available to the public after all real or personal property discussed at the meeting has been purchased or sold or the School Board has abandoned the purchase or sale. The real or personal property that is the subject of the closed meeting must be specifically identified on the recording. A list of School Board members and all other persons present at the closed meeting must be made available to the public after the closed meeting.
 
4. An agreement reached that is based on an offer considered at a closed meeting is contingent on its approval by the School Board at an open meeting. The actual purchase or sale must be approved at an open meeting and the purchase price or sale price is public data.
 
J. Security Matters

1. The School Board may close a meeting to receive security briefings and reports, to discuss issues related to security systems, to discuss emergency response procedures, and to discuss security deficiencies in or recommendations regarding public services, infrastructure, and facilities, if disclosure of the information discussed would pose a danger to public safety or compromise security procedures or responses.
 
2. Financial issues related to security matters must be discussed and all related financial decisions must be made at an open meeting.
 
3. Before closing a meeting, the School Board must refer to the facilities, systems, procedures, services, or infrastructures to be considered during the closed meeting. 
 
4. The closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district and the recording must be preserved for at least four years.  

K. Other Meetings
 
Other meetings shall be closed as provided by law, except as provided above. A closed meeting must be electronically recorded at the expense of the school district, and the recording must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting. The recording is not available to the public.

L. Procedures for Closing a Meeting 
 
The School Board shall provide notice of a closed meeting just as for an open meeting. A School Board meeting may be closed only after a majority vote at a public meeting. Before closing a meeting, the School Board shall state for the record the specific authority permitting the meeting to be closed and describe the subject to be discussed.
 
 
Legal References:
Minn. Stat. Ch. 12 (Emergency Management)
Minn. Stat. 121A.40-121A.575 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act) 
Minn. Stat. 122A.40 Subd. 14 (Teacher Discharge Hearing)
Minn. Stat. 121A.47 Subd. 5 (Student Dismissal Hearing)
Minn. Stat. Ch. 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act)
Minn. Stat. 179A.14, Subd. 3 (Labor Negotiations)
Minn. Stat. Ch. 13D (Open Meeting Law)
Minn. Stat. 122A.33, Subd. 3 (Coaches; Opportunity to Respond)
Minn. Rules Part 5510.2810 (Bureau of Mediation Services) 
Depart. of Admin. Advisory Op. No. 04-004 (February 3, 2004)
Brown v. Cannon Falls Township, 723 N.W.2d 31 (Minn. App. 2006) 
Brainerd Daily Dispatch v. Dehen, 693 N.W.2d 435 (Minn. App. 2005)
The Free Press v. County of Blue Earth, 677 N.W.2d 71 (Minn. App. 2004)
Prior Lake American v. Mader, 642 N.W.2d 729 (Minn. 2002)
Star Tribune v. Board of Education, Special School District No. 1, 507 N.W.2d 869 (Minn. App. 1993)
Minnesota Daily v. University of Minnesota, 432 N.W.2d 189 (Minn. App. 1988)
Moberg v. Independent School District No. 281, 336 N.W.2d 510 (Minn. 1983)
Sovereign v. Dunn, 498 N.W.2d 62 (Minn. App. 1993), rev. denied. (Minn. 1993)
Dept. of Admin. Advisory Op. No. 12-004 (March 9, 2012)
Dept. of Admin. Advisory Op. No. 11-004 (April 18, 2011)
Dept. of Admin. Advisory Op. No. 10-020 (September 23, 2010)
Dept. of Admin. Advisory Op. No. 09-020 (September 8, 2009)
Dept. of Admin. Advisory Op. No. 08-015 (July 9, 2008)
Dept. of Admin. Advisory Op. No. 06-027 (September 28, 2006) 

Cross References:
Moorhead School Board Policy 210: School Board Meeting Rules of Order
Moorhead School Board Policy 212: School Board Public Hearings
Moorhead School Board Policy 214: School Board Meeting Minutes
Moorhead School Board Policy 414: Employee Public and Private Personnel Data
Moorhead School Board Policy 504: Protection and Privacy of Student Records
MSBA/MASA Model Policy 205: Open Meetings and Closed Meetings
MSBA Service Manual, Chapter 13, School Law Bulletin "C" (Minnesota's Open Meeting Law)