Beulah Public School, 070119 NDAGO, AGO 2019-O-10

Docket Nº:AGO 2019-O-10
Case Date:July 01, 2019
Court:North Dakota
Beulah Public School
AGO 2019-O-10
No. 2019-O-10
North Dakota Attorney General Opinion
July 1, 2019
         ISSUED TO: Beulah Public School          CITIZEN’S REQUEST FOR OPINION          This office received a request for an opinion under N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.1 from Bruce W. Neuberger asking whether the Beulah Public School violated N.D.C.C. § 44-04-20 by failing to provide notice of meetings.          FACTS PRESENTED          The Beulah Board of Education consists of seven members and holds regular meetings on the second Thursday of every month.1 Beulah Public School received its 2017-2018 audit from the North Dakota State Auditor’s office on February 14, 2019. A regular Board meeting was already scheduled for February 14, so the audit was added to the meeting agenda.2 During the meeting, the Board voted to table discussion on the audit until its next regular meeting, giving the Board members time to review.3 The school’s superintendent, Travis Jordan, told the Board that they could call him or the school’s business manager, Krista Richau, with any questions while reviewing the audit.4          On March 10, 2019, Mr. Bruce Neuberger, requestor of this opinion, sent an email to all Board members with his interpretation and concerns of the audit.5 That same day, Superintendent Jordan spoke by telephone with the Board Chair, Stacee McLaughlin, regarding the audit and email from Mr. Neuberger.[6] After the call, Superintendent Jordan sent the following text message to all Board members:
You all received an email from Bruce N today. Coincidently I had a long discussion with Mandan Supt today and they got the same recommendations in their audit – as does most school districts. If you have any individual questions you can give me a call or else I have some thoughts that I will share with you all at the meeting this week. Please don’t respond all to this text.
         Superintendent Jordan and business manager Richau contacted the State Auditor on March 11, 2019, regarding the audit and concerns raised by Mr. Neuberger’s email.7 Superintendent Jordan called Chair McLaughlin later that day to relay what was discussed with the auditor, who did not have any significant concerns.8          Superintendent Jordan had a telephone conversation with Board member Dan Ziman on March 12, 2019, regarding the matrix salary proposed by the Beulah Education Association.9 Board member Ziman also spoke with the business manager earlier that day about the audit.10          The Board’s vice chair, Jennifer Steffan, also spoke with the business manager on March 12, 2019, about the Cost Basis of Accounting Method.11          The Board discussed the audit at its next regular meeting on March 21, 2019.12 During the discussion, Superintendent Jordan reiterated that he answered questions from a few board members, and that he also had discussions with the State Auditor about the findings. The Board approved the audit by motion.13          Other than what is noted above, there were no other conversations regarding the audit by any...

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