Belcourt School District #7 Board of Education, 070219 NDAGO, AGO 2019-O-11

Docket Nº:AGO 2019-O-11
Case Date:July 02, 2019
Court:North Dakota
Belcourt School District #7 Board of Education
AGO 2019-O-11
No. 2019-O-11
North Dakota Attorney General Opinion
July 2, 2019
         ISSUED TO: Belcourt School District #7 Board of Education          CITIZEN’S REQUEST FOR OPINION          This office received a request for an opinion under N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.1 from Chris Cerney asking whether the Belcourt School District #7 Board of Education violated N.D.C.C. § 44-04-20 by failing to provide notice of meetings.          FACTS PRESENTED          The Belcourt School District Board of Education considered a superintendent evaluation report at a special meeting on March 12, 2019.1 Prior to this meeting, and pursuant to School Board policy, members were given an evaluation form to fill out, individually, to provide ratings for the superintendent in ten performance areas.2 Each Board member then provided their individual ratings to the school’s secretary and business manager, who compiled the individual ratings and comments into one document.3 This document was presented for the Board to review and approve at the March 12, 2019, special meeting.4 The Board denied having any discussions involving the superintendent evaluation outside of the March 12, 2019, meeting.5          ISSUE          Whether the Belcourt School District Board of Education held “meetings” regarding a superintendent evaluation in violation of open meetings law.          ANALYSIS          Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all “meetings”6 of a governing body of a public entity must be open to the public,7 preceded by sufficient public notice in compliance with N.D.C.C. § 44-04-20, and minutes must be taken in compliance with N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21. A “meeting” occurs when a “quorum”8 of a “governing body”9 is present and its “public business”10 is considered or discussed.11 When a series of conversations regarding public business between members of a governing body collectively involve a quorum, it is considered a meeting subject to open meetings law, whether such conversations happen in person, via telephone, or other electronic means.12 ...

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