Board Meeting Types & Requirements
Meetings of the Board of Education are strictly regulated by the Ralph M. Brown Act (Open Meetings Act). The intent of the Act is to ensure that the public have an opportunity to view the Board conducting the business of the District, and that the business being conducted has been properly noticed. The public can also comment at specified times on matters on the agenda. The public can also comment on matters not on the agenda at regular meetings.
The calendar of regular meetings is usually published by the end of the prior school year. The calendar is created in collaboration with the City of Albany, so that as many meetings as possible can take place in Council Chambers, with the benefit of their media capabilities. When the Council Chambers are not available, a regularly scheduled meeting my take place at a school, where videotaping and live-streaming are not available. Agendas for regular meetings are published at least 72 hours in advance.
"Special meetings" is a term that covers all other types of meetings of the Board. Agendas for Special Meetings must be published 24 hours in advance. Special Meetings include Workshops, which may be scheduled weeks in advance, covering topics such as the Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSAs) and the School Accountability Report Cards (SARCs), or simply an orientation or training session for new Board members. Workshops usually don't have any actionable items on the agenda, they are typically presentations to the Board. They are open to the public, and have taken place in the City Council Chambers and a variety of school sites.
Other types of Special Meetings could be a Town Hall meeting or a Study Session on a particular topic. The Agenda Committee (District Superintendent, Board President, and another Board member (rotating between trustees)) determines when to call a Special Meeting. Special Meetings are usually scheduled with consideration of each Board trustee's work and family schedule.
Another type of Special Meeting is an Emergency Meeting. The Brown Act allows for an exception to the requirement to publicly notice a meeting 24 hours in advance in an emergency situation.
Not all the business of the District is viewable by the public. The Brown Act allows the Board to discuss the following matters in private, closed sessions:
- Appointment, employment, evaluation of performance, discipline, or dismissal of an employee;
- Complaints or charges brought against an employee;
- To review and/or instruct the District's representatives regarding negotiated items with employees;
- Student disciplinary actions, when a public hearing would violate student privacy rights;
- Matters regarding the safety and security of school property;
- Conferences with real property negotiators; and
- Litigation, pending litigation, issues that involve a threat of litigation, or issues that might result in litigation.
Note that this is not a detailed or comprehensive listing. See Board Bylaw 9321 for more detail.