Related resources

Board meetings resources

A complaint has been filed against a staff member which has progressed through the complaint procedure and has been appealed to the school board. The staff member who the complaint is against has requested the complaint be heard by the Board in public session. We anticipate both sides of the issue may have supporters in attendance. After the board reviews the complaint and the superintendent’s response, may we go into executive session to deliberate or do we have to do all of that in public session as well?

Question from Ask Betsy

Appointing subcommittees

The board has the authority to appoint special committees.

Are boards and their committees required to take minutes at all of their meetings and what should the minutes include?

Question from Ask Betsy

Are school board members held to the same standard as volunteers in the school district in terms of fingerprinting and background checks?

Question from Ask Betsy

As we prepare to interview applicants for a vacant Board position, can we/do we provide the interview questions to the applicants prior to the interview? Are the other applicants allowed to be in the room (we know it is a public meeting) during the interview process?

Question from Ask Betsy

Board chair's authority

A description of the board chair's authority.

Board meeting minutes

Boards and their committees are required to take minutes at all meetings.

Board meeting notice

One regular board meeting should be held monthly at the district’s administrative headquarters or at the nearest practical location, with consideration given to persons with disabilities.

Board secretary

The board secretary provides the board with accurate records of meeting minutes, handles board correspondence, and posts all meetings.

Budget committee process frequently asked questions

A quick overview of the budget committee process and frequently asked questions.

Can a board member attend the board meeting and vote over the phone? Are absentee ballots permitted?

Question from Ask Betsy

Can a charter board member also serve on the school board?

Question from Ask Betsy

Can a quorum of the board compel board members to attend meetings? We have a minority of members who might not attend a meeting where they will be faced with criticism. The majority of the board wants the minority to attend.

Question from Ask Betsy

Can all of our board members participate in a meeting of our political action committee to promote a bond campaign? If so, do we need to post it as a public meeting?

Question from Ask Betsy

Can the board discuss setting district goals while attending OSBA’s convention in Portland in November?

Question from Ask Betsy

Can the chair call meetings whenever he or she wants, including executive sessions?

Question from Ask Betsy

Can we put resolutions on our consent agenda, or do they have to be action items? Do you have to read the entire resolution out loud at a meeting prior to adopting it?

Question from Ask Betsy

Choosing the chair

The selection of the board chair is made no later than the next regular meeting following July 1 each year.

Code of conduct for school board members

This information is from Boardsmanship For Oregon School Board Members, which explains what it takes to be an Oregon school board member.

Communicating during the board meeting

Resources for making a positive impression on the public at board meetings.

Communication with the board and public

The primary role of the chair, other than to run meetings, is to be the voice of the board.

Community relations checklist for the board

Ways to identify if the board is successfully communicating with the community.

Conducting board meetings

The most important role of the board chair is conducting the meeting.

Dealing with crisis

Quick tips for communicating during a crisis.

Do executive session minutes need to be reviewed, voted on and approved by the board? How should this be done?

Question from Ask Betsy

Do we have to put a notice of our board meetings in the newspaper? Do we have to adopt a newspaper of record?

Question from Ask Betsy

Do we have to take minutes at a board retreat and if so do we have to have them approved at the board meeting?

Question from Ask Betsy

Does a Board have to convene a Special Session and then go into an Executive Session? Or, can they convene for an Executive Session, adjourn and go into a Special Session to vote on a matter?

Question from Ask Betsy

Does the budget committee have to approve their own minutes? Can the board approve them? Since the budget committee is done after the final budget meeting in which they approve the proposed budget amount, it seems like the board would have to approve at least the final minutes.

Question from Ask Betsy

Does the public have a right to speak at a board meeting? What does a board do if a member of the public wants to complain about a staff member in a public meeting?

Question from Ask OSBA

Does the quorum rule for school boards stated in your December, 2007 response also apply to charter school boards?

Question from Ask Betsy

Due to a resignation, we have an open position on our board. We have received two applications and will be interviewing and selecting a replacement member at an upcoming meeting. We now have a four-member board and would like to know what happens if we have two members select one applicant – and the other two members select the other applicant and we end up ‘deadlocked’. How can we reach a final decision to select the new member?

Question from Ask Betsy

Each year in August we publish a variety of Public Notices. A few examples of these notice requirements include procedures involving student records, non-discrimination, asbestos, board meetings schedules, alternative education, location of board policy books, and processes for comments and complaints. Where do I find the a "law" which specifically says we need to publish all these notices, and is it considered published if we just post them on our website? Or do we have to pay to run them in a print newspaper?

Question from Ask Betsy

Evaluating the superintendent

What the board needs to know to effectively evaluate the superintendent.

Executive sessions

For a board appointed committee (with no board member quorum participating) is the board executive assistant required to take the minutes or is someone designated from the committee during the initial meeting allowed to do so?

Question from Ask Betsy

Freedom of information laws

Oregon’s Public Meetings Laws govern what materials must be made available to the public and which may be withheld.

Handling board correspondence

Letters sent to the board of education through the board chair should be shared with other board members.

History of school board elections

Statistical information about school board elections.

How long do we need to keep the audio tapes of our meetings once they have been transcribed to a written format?

Question from Ask Betsy

How many consecutive board meetings can a board member miss and remain on the board?

Question from Ask Betsy

How much time does being a good board member require?

The time committment for school board service.

How should the board enter into, and come out of executive session during a meeting, and how should the minutes record this action?

Question from Ask Betsy

How to become a school board candidate

Information on becoming a school board candidate.

I am preparing our Board Agenda Packet and our Board will be signing the Superintendent's contract. Is it okay to include a copy in the Board Agenda Packet?

Question from Ask Betsy

If a board member declares a conflict of interest, is he required to state for the minutes the reason he is declaring a conflict? And after declaring a conflict of interest, does he have the right to vote on the motion?

Question from Ask Betsy

If a budget committee member cannot attend a budget meeting where a final vote on the budget is taking place, can we video tape the meeting, have them review it and have them call in their vote to the chair of the budget committee the next day and have the vote count?

Question from Ask Betsy

If a citizen or staff member makes a request to be put on the agenda do they have to be added, can they be refused, and what is the process the board should follow?

Question from Ask Betsy

If a person does not speak at or attend a Board meeting, but wants their email or written statement in the record as public comment, can/should we do that?

Question from Ask Betsy

If all of the board members are not present at a board meeting (but we have a quorum, three of five), is it true that if anyone votes "no" on an item, the motion fails?

Question from Ask Betsy

If our board chair resigns as chair yet remains on the board, do we need a resolution to accept that? Or, can the board just accept the resignation and approve a resolution electing another board member as chair?

Question from Ask Betsy

If our board chair resigns as chair yet remains on the board, do we need a resolution to accept that? Or, can the board just accept the resignation and approve a resolution electing another board member as chair?

Question from Ask Betsy

If we table an item until a future date as an action item, and we are not ready to bring it forward, does it die and we have to bring it forward again, or can a board member raise it as a question and then we table it again?

Question from Ask Betsy

Important principles for board members

Nine principles of a successful school board member.

Is it legal for the superintendent to talk with a board member in closed-door sessions? The board member discusses the issue with all of the other members before the meeting.

Question from Ask Betsy

Is it possible to conduct a public meeting where all board members are in attendance via electronic device (e.g. computer, phone etc.)?

Question from Ask Betsy

Is it sufficient to list the name of the board member who made a motion, seconded the motion and then state the outcome, passed or failed? Do the actual votes of the board members have to be listed by name?

Question from Ask Betsy

Is your school board dysfunctional?

Common denominators in dysfunctional school boards.

July meeting agenda checklist

Checklist of items school boards are mandated to complete to begin each new fiscal year.

Must executive session minutes be separate from regular session minutes, or can they be contained in the body of the regular session minutes?

Question from Ask Betsy

My understanding is that if the board appoints a committee to do a certain task, meetings of that committee must follow public meeting laws. In particular, notices of the committee meeting(s) must be posted just like we do for our school board meetings. If, for example, a 7-member board appointed 3 of its members to review a process and then return to the full board with its findings and recommendations, does the meeting of those 3 members need to be posted?

Question from Ask Betsy

One of our charter board members has written a letter of resignation. Does the board have to meet to accept this letter? We need to know as it affects our quorum requirement.

Question from Ask Betsy

Our board is planning to meet with another school district board to discuss mutual concerns. Are there any special provisions which need to be followed?

Question from Ask Betsy

Our board wants to hold a summer retreat at a meeting facility outside the boundaries of our district. Is this ok?

Question from Ask Betsy

Our board wants to prepare a response to an article in the newspaper. We would like to have our chair send a draft by e-mail, with each of us responding until we get it in a form we can agree on. Is this OK?

Question from Ask Betsy

Our board will be interviewing three candidates to fill one vacant position on our board due to a resignation. While all interviews/conversations must be completed in public, it is difficult to talk about the applicants in public. Do you have any advice for a school board as it launches into this very public process?

Question from Ask Betsy

Our superintendent has suggested the board have lunch together at an OSBA conference. I take it this would be illegal if we have a quorum or more board members present?

Question from Ask Betsy

Personal qualities of a board chair

Leadership is an acquired art, not something that comes naturally to all people.

Pressure groups

On rare occasions, a hostile group may approach the board to comment on a decision that the board is considering or has just made.

Public comment at board meetings

The laws governing boards of education require that their work be done where the public can observe their actions.

Public hearings

The board will hold public hearings as required by law.

Robert's Rules simplified

The chair’s guide to running an effective meeting is Robert’s Rules of Order.

Sample Oath of Office

Recently elected and appointed board members must take an oath of office before assuming the duties of office.

Sample opening comments to audience

This opening comment can be used by the board president at the beginning of every open forum or public comment portion to ensure consistency in approach at every meeting.

School board elections

Information about how to file as a candidate for school board elections.

Sharing a common vision

The board chair should work to keep the board focused on the school district's vision.

Should the board secretary be present at ALL meetings; special and executive?

Question from Ask Betsy

Sometimes during a meeting our board talks on and on without anyone making a motion. Is it appropriate for the chair to ask the board if there is a motion?

Question from Ask Betsy

Special board meetings

Special meetings may be convened by the chair, upon request of three board members, or by common consent of all or a majority of the board members.

Superintendent and board chair dialogue

Keeping the lines of communication open between the board chair and the superintendent benefits the entire board and school district.

Superintendent evaluation workbook

A high quality superintendent evaluation process helps develop good board/superintendent relationships, provides clarity of roles, creates common understanding of the leadership being provided and provides a mechanism for public accountability.

The board chair and first amendment

When the board chair speaks to an issue, the public and the media assume that the chair’s statement is the opinion of the entire board of education.

The board chair and superintendent

The board chair and the superintendent collaborate on the meeting agenda and other operational issues facing the board.

The board meeting agenda

The agenda, prepared by the board chair and the superintendent, is the most important document at any board meeting.

The District's business manager attended a workshop and was told there could be no discussion of priority lists with corresponding dollar amounts until after the first budget meeting. Is this accurate?

Question from Ask Betsy

The media and your board

The media is interested in what happens at your board meetings, and the media version of your board actions is what most people in your community see (or hear).

Time/stress management

Serving on a board of education is a volunteer effort that requires many hours of diligent work.

Voting requirements

A majority of the members of the board (a quorum) must be present to legally conduct business.

We are having a public information session on the budget hosted by the superintendent. The full board will be there and will answer questions. Do we need to post this meeting?

Question from Ask Betsy

We need to change an upcoming Board meeting date, due to a conflicting event. I THINK we need to present the revised Board meeting schedule to the Board as an action item for approval, and then change the date on our website. Am I correct?

Question from Ask Betsy

Welcome the public to your school board meeting

Sample English and Spanish "welcome the public" brochures in a variety of file formats.

What are the Board's obligations to allow participation by the public during board meetings?

Question from Ask Betsy

What does a school board do?

An overview of a school board's responsibilities.

What is the potential liability for both a charter committee member and the charter school for a potentially defamatory comment made by the committee member?

Question from Ask Betsy

What is the protocol for canceling a meeting?

Question from Ask Betsy

What makes a good board member?

Qualities that describe effective board members.

What rules have to be followed for retaining board member emails regarding school district business?

Question from Ask Betsy

What should be included in a consent agenda and how and why should a consent agenda be used in a board meeting?

Question from Ask Betsy

What should the board chair do about audience complaints of personnel that should be handled during executive session?

Question from Ask Betsy

When and how can board members use e-mail to communicate with each other? Can they discuss and gain consensus on an item by e-mail?

Question from Ask Betsy

When do committee meetings have to follow public meetings laws about posting and minutes?

Question from Ask Betsy

When should a board use a roll call vote?

Question from Ask Betsy

When you're in charge as the board chair...

As a new board chair, you suddenly find that you are making decisions, and that 'basic rule' is less defined.