December 13, 2019

School Committee Claims No Violation

Posted

The Dighton-Rehoboth school committee is claiming they did not violate the open meeting law when they scheduled a district-wide “tent” meeting.

In a November 14 letter to Rehoboth selectmen chairman Gerry Schwall, who filed the complaint on October 26, school committee chairperson Katherine Cooper said the committee voted to authorize the tent meeting during their July 18 meeting. Cooper said the meeting was held in open session “before hundreds of citizens, relative to the properly posted agenda items “Reports” and “Continued Discussion of the FY20 Budget.”

Cooper noted “the Open Meeting Law does not require a public body to determine logistical/scheduling/date confirmations during a posted meeting. Therefore, no agenda posting requirements applied to the subsequent confirmation of November 2, 2019 as the Dighton-Rehoboth tent meeting date.”

“No violation occurred,” Cooper continued. “The school committee did not engage in deliberation regarding the district-wide tent meeting outside of a posted public meeting on September 30, 2019, or on any other date.”

“The vote of the school committee in open session to authorize said meeting was made during a meeting without a proper or sufficient posting,” Schwall wrote in his complaint.

The November 2 meeting, which was to allow both towns to vote on the 2020 budget, was cancelled on November 1. An incorrect budget figure on the meeting warrant prompted the cancellation.

Schwall explained the town has submitted a public records request seeking the draft minutes of the September 30 and October 17 meetings. The minutes have not yet been approved or posted.

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