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KSBA News Article

A new way of meeting

Kentucky School Advocate
April 2020
 
By Brenna R. Kelly 
Staff writer 
 
After Governor Andy Beshear urged boards and commissions not to meet in person, school boards across the state quickly learned how to use video conferencing to conduct meetings.

Jefferson County Schools used a video conference (pictured at right) March 19 to conduct a special meeting to approve a plan to use NTI days. 

“We cannot control what is happening to us but together we can move forward,” Diane Porter, board chairwoman said after opening the video meeting with a quote from poet Maya Angelou. 

While public bodies, including school boards have always had the ability to conduct video meetings under the Kentucky Open Meetings Act, boards were required to “precisely identify a primary physical location for a video teleconference at which the public may attend and view the meeting.”  

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued an opinion March 18 advising that during the COVID-19 public health emergency it is not “feasible” for the agency to have a physical location for the public to watch. Instead, the opinion said boards “should precisely identify a website, television station, or other technological means by which the public may view a meeting until the conclusion of the state of emergency.”

KSBA staff attorney John Fogle said the video meetings should be treated as special meetings with 24 hours’ notice given that the meeting will use video conferencing. 

“While not having the force of law, the attorney general opinion does provide additional authority that school boards can in good faith rely on if they decide to hold meetings via video teleconference without providing a physical meeting space where the public can gather and observe the video teleconferenced meeting,” Fogle said. 

KSBA also sent all boards a sample resolution to use in adopting the use of video conferenced meetings.  To view the sample resolution, along with other pandemic guidance documents and helpful links, visit KSBA's coronavirus/COVID-19 resources page.
 
See related articles:
Closed classrooms, open schools
 
Legislature passes bill to help districts
 
Don't forget emotional needs of students
 
Task force to guide school districts
 
Nothing predictable during a pandemic
 
Three lessons learned responding to an unprecedented crisis 

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