Saturday, April 25, 2020

4/28/20 Regular Meeting

The following email was sent to the five legitimate board members of Richland 2 School District, the two trustees-elect (McKie and Holmes), the superintendent, the District's legal counsel, and the District's advisor on Robert's Rules of Order.

If you are interested in attending Tuesday's meeting, you might show up in person. State law makes all meetings of public bodies open. Will the District arrange socially-distant seating? Or will it just refuse admittance to the public, thus risking censure or legal action for prohibiting public attendance?

Members of the Board and Trustees-elect McKie and Holmes,

There is a conflict in information between that published on the District's website as the starting times for the executive (6:00PM) and open (6:30PM) sessions and the times shown in Mrs. Abdus-Saboor's email today, which states the executive session starts at 5:30PM and the open session at 6:00PM.

Regarding the 4/28/20 Agenda,

The 4/21/20 Special-Called Meeting Minutes, attached to the 4/28/20 Regular Meeting Agenda, do not reflect that the meeting was 100% remote without public attendance. The Minutes also do not mention the Live-streaming.

Will you please not approve the Agenda for the 4/28/20 Regular Meeting as prepared, and make a Motion for it to be corrected before it is approved?

State law requires that an Agenda state the location of the meeting of the public body. The 4/28/20 Agenda does not state a location.
SECTION 30-4-60. Meetings of public bodies shall be open.
Every meeting of all public bodies shall be open to the public unless closed pursuant to Section 30-4-70 of this chapter.

SECTION 30-4-80. Notice of meetings of public bodies.
(A) All public bodies, except as provided in subsections (B) and (C) of this section, must give written public notice of their regular meetings at the beginning of each calendar year. The notice must include the dates, times, and places [emphasis added] of such meetings. 

Mrs. Abdus-Saboor's email indicates that the Regular Meeting will be held at R2i2, but the Agenda does not.

I presume that the public can attend the open meeting, as allowed by State law and that seating with regard to social-distancing will be arranged.

Item 4.1 includes the Consent Agenda.
Before the Agenda is approved, will you please make a Motion that the Minutes be corrected?

The Minutes should reflect:
- that no Member of the Board was present in person;
    a. that a quorum was not present in person.
- that the public was prohibited from attending the open meeting, because the meeting was not held in a public-meeting 
- that no roll call was taken;
- that all seven Members attended remotely and none in the presence of one another;
- that there was no Motion or vote in the meeting to permit one or more board member to attend remotely
- that there was no explanation as to why any Member attended remotely (Board Policy BEDM):
    a. The allowance in BEDM for teleconferencing does not include the current circumstances (pandemic or Governor's order);
    b. There was no approval of any Member's request to attend by teleconference;
    c. There was no disclosure of any person(s) present in the location from which a member was participating.
    d. There was no admonition to members to refrain from using cellphones, email, texting, etc. during the meeting.
- that the meeting was Live-streamed.

This is important for any future legal challenge to the Board's meeting in such a manner that no member of the public could attend the Open Meeting in person. The SCSBA is wrong, when it advises that making the meeting "available to the public in real-time" (live-streaming) meets the "open to the public" requirement.

When the Board temporarily suspended Public Participation until the end of this month, it did not address attendance by the public. It only eliminated the three-minute speaking opportunity.

Agenda Item 7.1 did not include publication of the Homeschool Application in the Agenda. Is there such an urgency to this, that it must be voted on at its first reading?

Agenda Item 7.2 There is no attachment of the formal wording of the proposed change to Board Policy BE. The general explanation in a narrative sentence is inadequate notice to Board Members of detail, in expectation of a vote on first reading. On its surface, there is no need for such authority. A "No" vote is called for. 

I suggest a Motion to remove item 7.2 from the Agenda at the beginning of the meeting.

As fiduciaries of the District, it is imperative that you know and follow the law and your Policies scrupulously. Failure to do so may constitute dereliction of duty.

Board Members, you are relying too heavily on faulty advice from the SCSBA. Please make your own decisions in doing what is best for Richland School District Two, with guidance from your own legal counsel.


Gus Philpott

cc: Kathryn Mahoney
      Helen McFadden