Conference call Can school board members phone it in

first_img• What they do: Develop model policies for school boards to consider for implementation.• New model policy regarding school board members participating in meetings remotely:“Board members are not required to be physically present to attend a board meeting. Any or all board members may attend a board meeting and vote via any communication platform — including videoconference or teleconference — that provides, at a minimum, simultaneous aural communication between those present, provided:1) the meeting is properly noticed with any required passwords or authorization codes;2) the meeting is accessible to the public;3) the meeting accommodates any member of the public who wishes to participate and4) the communication platform is generally known and accessible to the public.”With access to a profusion of electronic communications devices, many school boards have not yet formulated policy allowing board members to participate in meetings via a state-of-the-art device — that is, state-of-the-art in 1876 — the telephone.Vancouver Public Schools board member Kathy Gillespie, who was out of town vacationing with her family, had requested to participate in the July 15 regular meeting via speakerphone. Her request was denied. However, Gillespie was permitted to participate in the executive session after the meeting.“That’s been a common procedure in the years I’ve been on the board,” Gillespie said via phone. “Our practice was not to accommodate members via phone for a regular meeting but would allow it for the executive session. We include people on the phone. I’ve never seen it in a regular meeting, that’s true. But I don’t know if anyone has ever asked. It’s my understanding that it’s not legally allowed or disallowed.”Mark Stoker, incoming president, said there is no policy allowing board members to participate in meetings or to cast votes via teleconference.“The board’s bylaws do not address this as a permissive practice for regular meetings of the board,” Stoker wrote in an email.Stoker said the board would need to revise board bylaw policy permitting the practice for regular meetings. “On occasion, when an executive-session topic requires the input from an absent board member, an accommodation has been made to allow a teleconference,” Stoker said. “In none of those occasions has any action been taken by the board.”last_img

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