Board Portals Help Your School Board Comply with Sunshine Laws
How a Board Portal Will Help Your School Board Comply with Sunshine Laws

By Dustin McKissen, July 21, 2016

In tennis, an unforced error is the worst type of error you can make. It gives the opposition an advantage they didn’t earn.

For school boards, unforced errors can also distract your learning community’s leaders from accomplishing important goals.

Big goals.

Goals like improving student performance, attracting high-performing teachers and staff, and increasing parental and family engagement.

If the unforced error is significant enough, it can knock your district completely off course, resulting in a lot of wasted time, talent, and money. And one unforced error that can be relatively easy to commit—but create a lot of unnecessary strife within your district—is to violate Sunshine Laws.

Most district professionals are familiar with Sunshine Laws, or as they are alternatively known, Open Meeting Laws. Each state law differs in name, which governmental bodies are covered under the state laws, and what can be discussed in executive sessions.

For example, under the Ohio Open Meetings Law, school boards can discuss issues related to personnel, litigation, the purchase or sale of property, and union negotiations. However, the Texas Open Meetings Act does not specifically allow for the discussion of union negotiations in executive session.

Open meeting laws make it critically important for your school board members to follow the advice of their legal counsel when preparing and conducting board meetings.

And, along with following the advice of your legal counsel, it’s also important that your board use low-cost tools that can help ensure compliance with your state’s open meetings law.

BoardPaq, the board portal of choice for a growing number of school districts across the nation, does just that. Features like the option to indicate a specific agenda item is “closed” when in executive session, the ability to build accurate and complete minutes during a meeting, and a public portal created specifically so your constituents can have access to agendas and other meeting information will help ensure that you inform the public about a meeting, conduct that meeting, and record the proceedings of that meeting the right way.

The compliant way, with the sun always shining on your school board.

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Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company, an association management and marketing firm. He is a Certified Association Executive and has served as an executive or consultant to a wide variety trade associations, professional societies, and nonprofits.
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