204.02 – Special Meetings
Generally, Board meetings shall be open meetings, unless a closed session or exempt meeting is provided for by law. The Board shall hold a closed session or exempt meeting in the situations stated below.
Notice may be oral or written and will specify the time and place of the meeting. Notification of the meeting will accord to Board Policy 204.4
If the special meeting called is an emergency meeting and the Board cannot give public notice in its usual manner, the Board will give publish notice of the meeting as soon as practical and possible in light of the situation. Emergency meetings will only be held when an issue cannot wait twenty-four hours necessary for a special meeting. The reason for the emergency meeting and why notice in its usual manner could not be given will be stated in the minutes.
Only the purpose or issue for which the special meeting was called may be discussed and decided in the special meeting. The Board will strictly adhere to the agenda for the special meeting and action on other issues will be reserved for the next regular Board meeting.
Legal Reference: Iowa Code 21.3, .4; 279.2 (2009) 1980 Op. Att’y Gen 148.
Exceptions to the Open Meetings Law, closed sessions take place as part of an open meeting. The item for discussion in the closed session shall be listed as part of the tentative agenda on the public notice. The motion for a closed session, stating the purpose for the closed session shall be made during the open meeting. A minimum of two-thirds of the Board, or all of the Board members present, must vote in favor of the motion on the roll call vote. Closed sessions shall be tape-recorded and have detailed minutes kept by the Board secretary. Final action on matters discussed in the closed session shall be taken in an open meeting.
The minutes and the tape recording will restate the motion made in the open meeting, the roll call vote, the members present, and the time the closed session began and ended. The tape recordings and the written minutes shall be kept for one year from the date of the meeting. Real estate-related minutes and tapes will be made public after the real estate transaction is completed.
The detailed minutes and tape recording shall be sealed and shall not be public records open to public inspection. The minutes and tape recording shall only be opened upon court order in an action to enforce the requirements of the open meetings law. The Board has complete discretion as to who may be present at a closed session.
Reasons for the Board entering into a closed session from an open meeting include, but are not limited to, the following:
- To review or discuss records that are required or authorized by state or federal law to be kept confidential or to be kept confidential as a condition for the Board’s possession or receipt of federal funds.
- To discuss strategy with legal counsel in matters presently in litigation, or where litigation is imminent if disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the Board.
- To discuss whether to conduct a hearing for suspension or expulsion of a student, unless an open meeting is requested by the student or the parent of the student.
- To evaluate the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance, or discharge is being considered when a closed session is necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual’s reputation and that individual requests a closed session.
- To discuss the purchase of particular real estate, but only when premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price the Board would have to pay for the property.
Exemptions to the Open Meetings Law
Board meetings at which a quorum is not present, or gatherings of the Board for purely ministerial or social purposes when there is no discussion of policy or no intent to avoid the purposes of the open meetings law requirements. Since gatherings of this type are exempt from the open meetings requirements, they can be held without public notice, be separate from an open meeting, be held without taping the gathering or taking minutes, and be held without a vote or motion. The Board may also hold an exempt session for the following:
- negotiating sessions, strategy meetings of public employers or employee organizations, mediation, and the deliberative process of arbitration;
- to discuss strategy in matters relating to employment conditions of employees not covered by the collective bargaining law;
- to conduct a private hearing relating to the recommended termination of a teacher’s contract. However, the private hearing in the teacher’s contract termination shall be recorded verbatim by a court reporter; and
- to conduct a private hearing relating to the termination of a probationary administrator’s contract or to review the proposed decision of the administrative law judge regarding the termination of an administrator’s contract.
Legal Reference: Iowa Code 20.17; 21; 22.7; 279.15, .16, .24 (2009); 1982 Op. Att’y Gen. 162; 1980 Op. Att’y Gen. 167; 1976 Op. Att’y Gen. 384, 514, 765.; 1972 Op. Att’y Gen. 158; 1970 Op. Att’y Gen. 287.
Date of Adoption: December 21, 1987
Reviewed & Revised: September 3, 1991; February 22, 1994; February 21, 2000; May 21, 2001; March 7, 2006; March 7, 2011; March 21, 2016