IPIB to board: Let the public in

The Iowa Public Information Board sent a strong message to government boards at its May meeting that such board should not use so-called “serial meetings” to keep the public out of discussions that should be occurring during public meetings.

The message came when the board approved an advisory opinion that had been requested by the attorney for the Highland School District south of Iowa City.

The board’s attorney asked whether the school board could meet privately with a local residents who wanted to discuss an unspecified matter with the Highland superintendent and school board members. The resident asked that the superintendent be present and that she and school board members could discuss her presentation.

Iowa law requires that school board meetings be open to the public unless there is a reason covered under an exception to the public-meetings law that would allow that portion of the meeting to occur behind closed doors. The attorney’s request for an advisory opinion suggests that no such exception would have applied to the topic the resident wanted to discuss.

Here is a copy of the advisory opinion that was approved by the IPIB: w IX. 3 Holland 18AO0010