The law (ORS 192.640) recognizes three classifications of meetings:
- Regular meeting. A regular meeting is one on the calendar of board meetings adopted by your board at the July organizational meeting. Those meetings require 'reasonable' notification. Although, reasonable is not defined in the law, it is usually considered to be whatever you have done in the past, with at least 48 hours' notice.
- Special meeting. A special meeting is one called during the year that is not on the regular meeting calendar adopted in July. Special meetings require 24-hour notice and posting at the same places you post regular meetings, if possible. (A weekly newspaper obviously won't work if you meet after the paper's print date). You must notify whoever has requested to be notified (the newspaper, etc.).
- Emergency meeting. An emergency meeting may be held with no prior notice - but you must announce the reason for the emergency, record it in the minutes and the emergency must be such that it was not possible to give 24 hours' notice. Board members' inability to attend a meeting within the next 24 hours is NOT a legitimate reason to hold an emergency meeting.
Example: The board needs to approve a student group's out-of-state trip that will take place a week from now; however, three of the five board members will be out of town from this evening(six hours from now) until after the trip. This is not a legitimate reason to hold an emergency meeting two hours from now.
Another example: A fire at the elementary school damages several classrooms. The board needs to take action to allow the superintendent to obtain emergency space for tomorrow's classes. This passes the "actual emergency" test.
Very little will pass the emergency test in this state. When you consider calling an emergency meeting, ask yourself: What would happen if we made this decision 24 hours from now, versus less than 24 hours from now?
When you do call an emergency meeting, you must attempt to notify by telephone all those who you notify about regular and special meetings, including the newspapers. Consult your district's policy on posting meeting notice, which will be in the B section. Most often, it is policy BDDA . Usually, the policy follows ORS 192.640, Public notice required; special notice for executive sessions, special or emergency meetings:
- The governing body of a public body shall provide for and give public notice, reasonably calculated to give actual notice to interested persons including news media which have requested notice, of the time and place for holding regular meetings. The notice shall also include a list of the principal subjects anticipated to be considered at the meeting, but this requirement shall not limit the ability of a governing body to consider additional subjects.
- If an executive session only will be held, the notice shall be given to the members of the governing body, to the general public and to news media which have requested notice, stating the specific provision of law authorizing the executive session.
- No special meeting shall be held without at least 24 hours' notice to the members of the governing body, the news media which have requested notice and the general public. In case of an actual emergency, a meeting may be held upon such notice as is appropriate to the circumstances, but the minutes for such a meeting shall describe the emergency justifying less than 24 hours' notice. [1973 c.172 §4; 1979 c.644 §3; 1981 c.182 §1]