'Best practice' is for school boards to cancel meeting when there's a travel ban

Indiana's public access counselor answered questions about public records and the Open Door Law recently.

Posted on Feb. 27, 2014 at 5:41 p.m.

Weather decimated nearly everyone's plans this winter, but local school boards didn't cancel their meetings.

James Ramer, a member of the Goshen Community Schools board, brought up the matter when Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt visited Elkhart on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Ramer said the Goshen board met during a county travel ban but board members wondered later if they should have rescheduled.

Britt, who provides advice to Indiana residents about the state's public access laws, said boards that choose to meet during a travel ban should try to do the least amount of business possible. 

"Don't do important votes," he said.

While it's not a violation of public access laws to meet during a travel ban, Britt said, the best practice would be to postpone the meeting.

Elkhart schools also faced that issue this year, when a public meeting about the proposed referendum was scheduled for Jan. 6. County officials declared a snow emergency that day, but the district decided to hold its meeting anyway.

School officials said that delaying the meeting could cause the district to miss deadlines set by state law in pursuing a referendum for the spring election.

The weather that day didn't stop several people from attending the meeting and sharing their thoughts on the school's plan to pursue a referendum.

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