Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Kentucky Board of Education and Kentucky's Open Meeting's Law

Some questions have been raised about the Kentucky Board of Education's Closed Session at the end of today's meeting, and particularly, whether KDE's Communications Director is really in-the-loop when it comes to what board members intend to discuss today. The question comes from my response in the comments section of the "Talk is Cheap" post:

The Principal said...
Lisa says...

It has been on the agenda since before we communicated. Although I don't know details, I do know that the discussion will be a continuation of the teambuilding discussions that happened at the retreat and also will occur near the end of this meeting.

Lisa Y. Gross
Division of Communications
From my Blackberry

Lot's of folks seem to want to know what's really going to be discussed. Some are looking for light on the horizon. Scottsdale attorney (and semi-famous Erwin adversary) Christine Schild even did a little snooping of her own.

Dear Dr. Day,

I read what I presume was the response of a KBE employee regarding the last item on today’s agenda.

Her response didn’t sit well with me, so I reviewed KRS sec. 61-810, which contains the exceptions to Kentucky’s open meeting law.

Unless the board can somehow claim that this “teambuilding” discussion is not “public business,” the only personnel discussions permitted to be held in close session are:

(e) Collective bargaining negotiations between public employers and their employees or their representatives;

(f) Discussions or hearings which might lead to the appointment, discipline, or dismissal of an individual employee, member, or student without restricting that employee's, member's, or student's right to a public hearing if requested. This exception shall not be interpreted to permit discussion of general personnel matters in secret;

Here is the link to the statute:

My experience with OML is that any meeting of the Board that isn’t (1) purely social or (2) fits squarely within one of the OML exceptions has to be held in a forum open to the general public.

Our board’s team building exercises were always done in “retreats” that were open to the public, but rarely attended by anyone other than staff. If the Board gets together to chat about operations of their public agency, it’s public business.

Either Ms. Gross is not being entirely truthful regarding this item or the KBE isn’t smarter than St. Charles.

Best wishes,

Christine Schild
Chair, Scottsdale Neighborhood Enhancement Commission
7418 E. Helm Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
I'm out of town today...early Father's Day celebration with my parents. By the time I get home it could all be over. Plus, I'm in a Value-Added Assessment Seminar all day tomorrow and then off to Atlanta. Somewhere in there, I'll pass along whatever I learn.

In the meantime, remember, there's a streaming video/audio link to the meeting here.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to how many hits on this blogsite are from Texas, Arizona, Illinois and Indiana for that matter! Barbara's tenure in those states seems to have left a lasting effect. That should say a lot to the KBE in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

I am hitting it from Texas. I came because of the Erwin news, but I am coming back because of the overall quality of Richard's general education information. This is a great blog - finally, something good came from knowing Barbara Erwin!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous from Texas. I've enjoyed reading Richard's blog.

One could say I am hooked.


Sweltering in AZ

Anonymous said...

Agree with above. Arizona loves the Principal with the principles!

The Principal said...

Thanks for the kind words.

As for the blogsite...
In the week ending last Thursday, KSN&C had 999 pageviews. The biggest weekly number I ever saw was around 1250. When I started the redesigned site as KSN&C in March it was running 300+.

Top states?
1. Illinois.
2. Kentucky.
3. Arizona.
4. Texas.