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Novato USD |  BB  9012  Board Bylaws

Board Member Electronic Communications   

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The Board of Education recognizes that electronic communication among Board members and between Board members, district administration, and members of the public is an efficient and convenient way for Board members to communicate and expedite the exchange of information within the district and with members of the public. Electronic communication also helps to keep the community informed about the goals, programs, and achievements of the district and its schools. Board members shall exercise caution so as to ensure that electronic communications are not used as a means for the Board to deliberate outside of an agendized Board meeting, nor to circumvent the public's right to access records regarding district business.

(cf. 1100 - Communication with the Public)

(cf. 9000 - Role of the Board)

(cf. 9322 - Agenda/Meeting Materials)

A majority of the Board shall not, outside of an authorized meeting, use a series of electronic communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board. (Government Code 54952.2)

(cf. 9320 - Meetings and Notices)

Examples of permissible electronic communications concerning district business include, but are not limited to, dissemination of Board meeting agendas and agenda packets, reports of activities from the Superintendent, and reminders regarding meeting times, dates, and places.

In addition, Board members may use electronic communications to discuss matters that do not pertain to district business, regardless of the number of Board members participating in the discussion.

Board members shall make every effort to ensure that their electronic communications conform to the same standards and protocols established for other forms of communication. A Board member may respond, as appropriate, to an electronic communication received from a member of the community and should make clear that his/her response does not necessarily reflect the views of the Board as a whole. Any complaint or request for information should be forwarded to the Superintendent in accordance with Board bylaws and protocols so that the issue may receive proper consideration and be handled through the appropriate district process. As appropriate, communication received from the press shall be forwarded to the designated district spokesperson.

(cf. 1112 - Media Relations)

(cf. 1312.1 - Complaints Concerning District Employees)

(cf. 1312.2 - Complaints Concerning Instructional Materials)

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

(cf. 1312.4 - Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures)

(cf. 3320 - Claims and Actions Against the District)

BB 9012(b)

BOARD MEMBER ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS (continued)

(cf. 9005 - Governance Standards)

(cf. 9121 - President

(cf. 9200 - Limits of Board Member Authority)

In order to minimize the risk of improper disclosure, Board members shall avoid reference to confidential information and information acquired during closed session.

(cf. 4112.6/4212.6/4312.6 - Personnel Files)

(cf. 5125 - Student Records)

(cf. 9011 - Disclosure of Confidential/Privileged Information)

(cf. 9321 - Closed Session Purposes and Agendas)

Like other writings concerning district business, a Board member's electronic communication may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

To the extent possible, electronic communications regarding any district-related business shall be transmitted through a district-provided device or account. When any such communication is transmitted through a Board member's personal device or account, he/she shall copy the communication to a district electronic storage device for easy retrieval.

(cf. 1340 - Access to District Records)

(cf. 3580 - District Records)

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

35140 Time and place of meetings

35145 Public meetings

35145.5 Agenda; public participation; regulations

35147 Open meeting law exceptions and applications

GOVERNMENT CODE

6250-6270 California Public Records Act

11135 State programs and activities, discrimination

54950-54963 The Ralph M. Brown Act, especially:

54952.2 Meeting, defined

54953 Meetings to be open and public; attendance

54954.2 Agenda posting requirements, board actions

COURT DECISIONS

City of San Jose v. Superior Court (2017) 2 Cal.5th 608

Management Resources: (see next page)

BB 9012(c)

BOARD MEMBER ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS (continued)

Management Resources:

CSBA PUBLICATIONS

Legal Alert: Tips for Governing Boards in Response to Public Records Act Ruling on Electronic Communications, March 2017

The Brown Act: School Boards and Open Meeting Laws, rev. 2014

ATTORNEY GENERAL PUBLICATIONS

The Brown Act: Open Meetings for Legislative Bodies, 2003

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

CSBA, Agenda Online: http://www.csba.org/ProductsAndServices/AllServices/AgendaOnline.aspx

California Attorney General's Office: http://oag.ca.gov

Bylaw NOVATO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: April 7, 2009 Novato, California

revised: June 20, 2017