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School boards across Utah need to make some serious course corrections when it comes to conducting the people’s business openly and in full public view.
Just listen to what the Legislative Auditor General wrote in a recent report:
Most local school boards:
-“do not fully comply with Utah’s Open Meetings Act.”
-“are not keeping adequate records and are not reviewing the minutes they do keep, and follow questionable closed door meeting practices, making it impossible to determine the appropriateness of many closed meeting discussions.”
-“may be circumventing the legislative intent of the Open Meetings Act.”
In a democracy, those are serious allegations.
Yet, to journalists who cover school board meetings, the findings are not at all surprising. School boards, as the report noted, choose to go behind closed doors more than any other public bodies.
Why? What is it about school business, other than a few, occasional sensitive personnel items, that warrants such blatant and indefensible secrecy?
School board members are not above the law. In KSL’s view, they must own up to their civic responsibility to conduct the public’s business openly and within the context of a rather lenient Open Meetings Act. KSL also urges our legislators to consider helping them by strengthening the law and making it more enforceable.