Overview of Open Meetings

Open Meetings                                                                         

All meetings of a public body (i.e., school board) must be open to the public.

  • A “meeting” is defined as the convening of a public body at which a quorum is present for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy.
  • The Act does not apply to a social or chance gathering or conference where a quorum is present as long as board members in attendance do not collectively discuss matters of public policy. 
  • An advisory committee composed of less than a quorum of the full board can also be a “public body” subject to the Act’s requirements.

All decisions of a public body must be made at a meeting open to the public.

All deliberations of a public body constituting a quorum of its members must take place at a meeting open to the public unless a closed meeting exception applies.

Closed Meetings                                                                       

Closed meeting exceptions to the open deliberations requirement:

  • Considering the dismissal, suspension, or disciplining of an employee or student if a closed meeting is requested by the employee or student;
  • Hearing complaints or charges brought against an employee or school board member per his or her request for a closed meeting;
  • Considering a periodic personnel evaluation of an employee if he or she requests a closed session;
  • Conducting strategy and negotiation sessions connected with a collective bargaining agreement;
  • Considering the purchase or lease of property;
  • Consulting with legal counsel regarding pending litigation;
  • Reviewing applications for employment or appointment when the applicant requests confidentiality; and
  • Considering material exempt from discussion or disclosure by law.

A public body cannot hold a meeting without first giving public notice of the meeting at its principal office.

Minutes must be kept of all meetings, whether open or closed, and regardless of whether the meeting is identified as a regular or special meeting, study session, committee of the whole, or by some other name.

Members of the public have the right to attend all open meetings and to address the board during the meeting according to rules adopted by the board.