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Public School Academies Unit Technical Assistance Webinar


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Title: Public School Academies Unit Technical Assistance Webinar

Public School Academies UnitTechnical Assistance
  • Board Responsibility and Authority
  • March 7, 2012

Public School Academies UnitTechnical Assistance
  • Mark S. Eitrem
  • Public School Academies Manager

  • We are not attorneys nor are we subject matter
    experts in any law. We are, however, relatively
    knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects,
    including public school academy boards and their
    operations. We have compiled this information
    for the general use of charter school developers
    and current charter school board members.
    Attorneys are subject matter experts in many of
    these issues and should be consulted directly if
    somebody has a specific question regarding any of
    the legal issues presented within this webinar.

Proposed Outcomes
  • Articulate the general expectations for board
    responsibility including meetings, agendas,
    vetting and monitoring vendors, and more.
  • Understand the basics of FOIA, as it applies to a
    nonprofit receiving federal grant funds.
  • Apply the requirements of the open meetings act
    to nonprofits receiving federal grant funds.
  • Gain knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and
    find out where to obtain additional resources.

General Expectations
  • Members of the Community
  • U.S. Citizens
  • Public Officials
  • Oath of Office
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Fixed Terms

Academy Board Functions
  • Hire Fire a School Leader
  • Establish, Maintain and Enforce Board Policies
  • Establish and Enforce Budgets
  • Abide By Contracts and the Law
  • Provide Strategic Vision Goals

Topics of Board Training
  • Board member roles and responsibilities
  • Board and superintendent relations
  • Leadership skills
  • Legal issues in education
  • Board accountability
  • Communications
  • Budget/resource allocation
  • Student achievement issues
  • Strategic planning
  • Community engagement
  • Community collaborations/partnerships

Meeting Schedules
  • We recommend that Academy Boards meet once a
    month. (Average is 14 meetings per year,
    including special meetings)
  • Special Meetings can be held for any reason,
    typically negotiations, budgets, discipline, or
    quorem issues with a regular meeting.
  • Many School Boards do not meet in July.
  • The first meeting in each fiscal year (July 1 to
    June 30) is normally called the Organizational
  • Board Meeting Schedule is typically approved in

Organizational Meeting
  • New Board Officers are Selected (Typically,
    President, Vice President, Secretary and
  • Approve Annual Contracts
  • Approve Selection of Newspaper Bank
  • Approve School Calendar
  • Approve New Policies (if any) Handbooks

  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call
  3. Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting
  4. Approval of Current Meeting Agenda
  5. Public Comment (related to Board Agenda)
  6. Committee Reports (Standing Ad Hoc)
  7. Treasurers Report
  8. Administrators Report
  9. Old Business
  10. New Business
  11. Extended Public Comment (Any Issue)
  12. Other Business
  13. Adjournment

An Hour is Just About Right!!!
Freedom of Information Act(FOIA)
  • Ron Schneider
  • Public School Academies Consultant

Basic Intent of FOIA
  • The Freedom of Information Act regulates and sets
    requirements for the disclosure of public records
    by all public bodies in the state. All public
    bodies must have a FOIA coordinator.

Key Definitions
  • Public body means a state officer, employee,
    agency, department, division, bureau, board,
    commission, council, authority, or other body in
    the executive branch of the state government, but
    does not include the governor or lieutenant
    governor, the executive office of the governor or
    lieutenant governor, or employees thereof. It
    also includes
  • an agency, board, commission, or council in the
    legislative branch of the state government
  • a county, city, township, village, inter county,
    inter city, or regional governing body, council,
    school district, special district, or municipal
    corporation, or a board, department, commission,
    council or agency thereof or
  • any other body which is created by state or local
    authority or which is primarily funded by or
    through state or local authority. It does not
    include private non-profit corporations.
  • Public record means a writing prepared, owned,
    used, in the possession of, or retained by a
    public body in the performance of an official
    function, from the time it is created.

  • FOIA sets requirements for the disclosure of
    public records by all public bodies in the
    state. All state agencies, county and other local
    governments, school boards, other boards,
    departments, commissions, councils, and public
    colleges and universities are covered.
  • If you are a PSA, I recommend the PSAs and ESPs
    attorneys meet so there is a clear understanding
    about the FOIA process if either entity receives
    a request. ( for example, review Bacon v. The
    Leona Group/Walter French Academy, 2000)
  • If you are a sub grantee, I recommend you meet
    with your attorney and have a FOIA plan.

Public Records Open For Disclosure
  • In general, all records except those specifically
    cited as exceptions are covered by the Freedom of
    Information Act. The records covered include
  • Minutes of open meetings, officials voting
    records, staff manuals, final orders or decisions
    in contested cases and the records on which they
    were made, and promulgated rules.
  • Other written statements which implement or
    interpret laws, rules or policies, including, but
    not limited to, guidelines, manuals and forms
    with instructions, adopted or used by the agency
    in the discharge of its functions, are also
  • It does not matter what form the record is in or
    the location handwriting, typewriting,
    printing, photographing, photocopying and every
    other means of recording. It includes letters,
    words, pictures, sounds or symbols, or
    combinations thereof, as well as papers, maps.
  • Correspondence/e-mails between Board members
  • It does not include computer software.

Public Records Exempt From Disclosure
  • Specific personal information about an individual
    if the release would constitute a clearly
    unwarranted invasion of that individual's
  • Investigating records compiled for law
    enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that
    disclosure as a public record would do any of the
  • interfere with law enforcement proceedings
  • deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or
    impartial administrative adjudication
  • constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal
  • Records which if disclosed would violate the
    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    of 1974 (primarily student records).
  • Records specifically exempted from disclosure by
    another statute.

Records Exempt From Disclosure (2)
  • Information subject to attorney-client privilege.
  • Information subject to other privileges such as
    counselor-client and those recognized by statute
    or court rule.
  • Pending public bids to enter into contracts.
  • Appraisals of real property to be acquired by a
    public body.
  • Test questions and answers, scoring keys and
    other examination instruments.
  • Communications and notes between and within
    public bodies of an advisory nature to the extent
    that they cover other than purely factual
    materials and are preliminary to a final
    determination of policy or action.
  • Basically- the document was created during
    frank communications and
  • did not represent the final outcome.

Records Exempt From Disclosure (3)
  • Records of a public body's security measures.
  • Records relating to a civil action in which the
    requesting person and the public body are
  • Records that would disclose the social security
    number of an individual.
  • I tried to focus on educationally related
    examples of exemptions. There are several other
    exemptions. You can get complete information by
    checking MCL 15.231-246.

Availability of Public Records
  • A request must be made in writing and provided to
    the FOIA coordinator of the public body. A FOIA
    coordinator may designate another individual to
    act on his or her behalf to accept requests for
  • A person may ask to inspect, copy or receive a
    copy of a public record. There are no
    qualifications such as residency or age that must
    be met in order to make a request. However,
    prisoners in state, county or federal
    correctional facilities are not entitled to make

Availability Of Public RecordS (2)
  • Not more than five business days after receiving
    a request, the public body must respond to a
    request for a public record. The public agency
    can notify the requester in writing and extend
    the time for an additional ten business days.
  • The public body or agency has a responsibility to
    provide reasonable facilities so that persons
    making a request may examine and take notes from
    public records. The facilities must be available
    during the normal business hours of the public

Fees For Public Records
  • A government agency may charge a fee for the
    necessary copying of a public record for
    inspection or providing a copy of a public record
    to a requestor. A public body may also charge for
    search, examination and review and the separation
    of exempt information in those instances where
    failure to charge a fee would result in
    unreasonably high costs to the public body. The
    fee must be limited to actual duplication,
    mailing and labor costs. The first 20 of a fee
    must be waived for a person who is on welfare or
    presents facts showing inability to pay.

Denial of a Record
  • Written notice of the denial must be provided to
    the requester within five business days, or
    within 15 business days if an extension is taken.
    A failure to respond at all, constitutes a
  • The public body must provide the requester with a
    full explanation of the reasons for the denial
    and the requesters right to submit an appeal to
    the head of the public body or to seek judicial
    review. Notification of the right to judicial
    review must include notification of the right to
    receive attorney fees and collect damages.
  • EnforcementA person may appeal a final decision
    to deny a request to the head of the public body.
    The head of the public body has 10 days to
    respond to the appeal. Under unusual
    circumstances, an additional 10 days may be
    taken.A person also has the right to commence an
    action in circuit court to compel disclosure of
    public records. The suit must be filed within 180
    days after the public body's final decision to
    deny a request.
  • The action may be brought in the county where the
    requester lives, the county where the requester
    does business, the county where the public
    document is located, or a county where the agency
    has an office.

Penalties for Violation of the Act
  • If the circuit court finds that the public body
    has arbitrarily and capriciously violated FOIA by
    refusal or delay in disclosing or providing
    copies of a public record, it may, in addition to
    any actual or compensatory damages, award
    punitive damages of 500 to the person seeking
    the right to inspect or receive a copy of a
    public record. 

  • Clearly identify a FOIA coordinator.
  • All Board and staff members should report all
    FOIA requests to the coordinator.
  • The FOIA coordinator should work with the PSAs
    and ESPs attorneys whenever needed and the
    information/process shared with the board and
    authorizer. No surprises upline!
  • Err on the side of caution. If your entity
    receives any public revenue- most people will
    view you as a public body.
  • Consider public relations and perceptions. Your
    community usually expects anyone who leads or is
    developing a public school, to be open and
    transparent. That includes following the FOIA

Open Meetings Act (OMA)
  • Karla Browning
  • Public School Academies Consultant

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • Intent of the Act is to
  • strengthen the right of all Michigan citizens to
    know what goes on in government by requiring
    public bodies to conduct nearly all business at
    open meetings (MI Attorney Generals Office)

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • In a nutshell
  • All meetings of a public body shall be open to
    the public and shall be held in a place available
    to the general public. All persons shall be
    permitted to attend any meeting except as
    otherwise provided in this act. 15.261(3)

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • Questions
  • Does this apply to my nonprofit?
  • What defines a meeting?
  • What are posting requirements?
  • What about special and emergency meetings?
  • When is closed session appropriate?
  • What records should we keep?
  • What is the publics role?
  • What are some dos and donts?

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • Does this apply to us?
  • Sec. 2(a)
  • Public body means any state or local
    legislative or governing body, including a board,
    commission, committee, subcommittee, authority,
    or council, which is empowered by state
    constitution, statute, charter, ordinance,
    resolution, or rule to exercise governmental or
    proprietary authority to perform a governmental
    or proprietary function
  • Case law????

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • What is a meeting?
  • When a quorum of a public body is gathered for
    the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a
    decision on public policy
  • Includes committees
  • Includes discussion/deliberation via phone and
  • Chance encounters can constitute a meeting,
    depending what gets discussed

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • What are posting requirements?
  • The law states that within 10 days of the first
    meeting of a public body in each calendar or
    fiscal year, the body must publicly post a list
    stating the dates, times and places of all its
    regular meetings at its principal office.
  • For special and irregular meetings, public bodies
    must post a notice indicating the date, time and
    place at least 18 hours before the meetings.
  • Exceptions for emergency meetings involving
    health, safety and welfare

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • Sec. 5(1)
  • A meeting of a public body shall not be held
    unless public notice is given as provided in this
    section by a person designated by the public

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • What records are required?
  • Minutes available to the public
  • Date and time of meeting
  • Place of meeting
  • Board members present and absent
  • Every decision made by the board and roll call of
  • Record of other votes
  • Purpose of closed session
  • Corrections, if any, of minutes from prior
  • Not a verbatim transcript
  • Draft minutes available within 8 business days
  • Final minutes available within 5 days after
    meeting in which they were approved

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • What about closed session?
  • Defined as a meeting or part of a meeting of a
    public body which is closed to the public.
  • Only allowed for discussions on certain
    specifically cited topics
  • Evaluation, discipline, dismissal of public
    employee if the employee requests
  • Student discipline if requested by student or
  • Collective bargaining strategy sessions
  • By 2/3 vote of the board to discuss
  • Purchase or lease of real property
  • Pending litigation
  • Employment
  • Board controls who is present

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • Additionally.
  • You cannot vote in closed session, including
    straw votes
  • You must reflect the closed session in your
  • Time
  • Reason
  • Can keep separate minutes (AG recommendation)

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • What is the publics role?Sec. (3)1
  • The right of a person to attend a meeting of a
    public body includes the right to tape record, to
    videotape, to broadcast live on radio, and
    telecast live on television the proceedings of a
    public body at a public meeting.
  • Sec. 3(5)
  • A person shall be permitted to address a
    meeting of a public body under rules established
    and recorded by the public body.
  • An individual can share information during public
    comment. Case law has made it difficult to
    enforce the established rules.
  • The board is not required to respond to the

Michigans Open Meetings ActAct 267 of 1976
  • Do
  • Post notices timely
  • Record minutes as required by law
  • Refrain from engaging with the public during
  • Strive for full transparency
  • Hold meetings face-to-face
  • Dont
  • Deliberate via phone or email
  • Deliberate by texting during a meeting
  • Conduct informal polls in closed session
  • Discuss board business during chance meetings
    where a quorum is present

Michigans Open Meetings ActViolations
  • What happens if we violate OMA?
  • Sec. 11
  • Allows the public to sue and collect damages, and
    establishes criminal penalties for willful
    violations of the law.
  • If a suit is successful, a person is entitled to
    court costs and actual attorney fees.

Michigans Open Meetings ActViolations
  • Sec. 12(1)
  • A public official who intentionally violates
    this act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by
    a fine of not more than 1000.
  • Sec.13 (1)
  • A public official who intentionally violates
    this act shall be personally liablefor damages
    of not more than 500to a person or group
    bringing the action.
  • Larger fines and jail time for subsequent offense

  • Open Meetings
  • Legislatures synopsis
  • http//
  • MDEs Open Meetings Page
  • http//,4615,7-140-54504_186
  • AG OMA Handbook
  • http//

Parliamentary Procedure
  • Neil Beckwith
  • Public School Academies Consultant

Roberts Rules of Order
  • Outcomes
  • Understand reasons for using RRs.
  • Understand some basic protocols identified in
  • Identify resources for more information.

Roberts Rules of Order
  • Foundational Thinking Behind Use of RRs
  • Subgrantees are public entities Provides
    non-profits receiving CSP funds a proven method
    for conducting fair and orderly (oversight)
  • Right of free deliberation
  • Questions of concern should be thoroughly
    discussed prior to action.
  • Silence means consent
  • Organizations are ruled first by state, local,
    federal laws and adopted organizational

Roberts Rules of Order
  • True/False Quiz
  • According to RRs, a President votes only to
    break a tie.
  • Once a quorum is established, it continues to
    exist if additional members leave during a
  • A motioner can modify or withdraw a motion at
    any point while it is being considered by a
  • A vote is not official until the chair announces
    it as carried or lost.

Roberts Rules of Order
  • Quiz cont.
  • The President may make a motion.
  • A motion to adjourn need not wait until the
    agenda has been completed.
  • If a member calls the question then debate
    automatically ends on the motion.
  • Motions to reconsider previously decided
    motions(from same meeting) must be accepted only
    from members that voted with the prevailing side

Roberts Rules of Order
  • Answers
  • False
  • False
  • False
  • True
  • True
  • True
  • False
  • True

Roberts Rules of Order
  • Some General Processes for Good Meetings
  • Have an agenda creation and approval process-Not
    controlled by any one member.
  • Have process to manage public comment.
  • Remarks should be directed to the Chair.
  • Obtain the floor.
  • Make motions in the affirmative.
  • ____ is moved and seconded. This moves it to the
    floor for discussion.
  • Minutes are a record of what is done not said.

Roberts Rules of Order
  • Steps to follow in the Making Motions phase of
    a meeting.
  • STEP 1. A member is recognized and makes a
    motionCommon Mistake Members do not wait to be
    recognized and typically start to discuss their
    motion before completing STEP 2, STEP 3, and STEP
    4 below!
  • STEP 2. Another member seconds the motionCommon
    Mistake The person seconding the motion dives
    into the merits of the motion.
  • STEP 3. The presiding officer restates the motion
    to the assemblyCommon Mistake Motion is
    restated differently from the wording of the
    maker! Beware because the motion that is adopted
    is the one stated by the presiding officer, not
    the one stated by the maker of the original

Roberts Rules of Order
  • STEP 4. The members debate the motionCommon
    Mistake Debate gets out of control in terms of
    demeanor, duration, or relevance! Members talk at
    each other rather than through the chair.
  • STEP 5. Presiding officer asks for the
    affirmative votes then the negative
    votesCommon Mistake The presiding officer
    states 'All in favor' and fails to tell the
    members what to do as a matter of voting (for
    example, say aye, raise your hand', etc.) or
    the negative vote is never requested or counted!
  • STEP 6. The presiding officer announces the
    result of the voting instructs the corresponding
    officer to take action and introduces the next
    item of business.Common Mistake Presiding
    officer fails to pronounce the result of the
    voting! No one is instructed to take action.
    Commonly, dead silence follows because the
    presiding officer does not transition to next

Roberts Rules of Order
  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Minutes
  • Special Committees
  • Public Comment
  • Business of the Meeting(from agenda, includes
  • Old/Unfinished-not concluded, postponed, tabled.
  • New Business-announcements, informational
    programs, speakers.
  • I call this meeting to order
  • Will the secretary please do roll call?
  • We have quorum. Will the secretary read the
    minutes of the last meeting?
  • It has been moved and seconded that (state-
    restate motion)is there any further discussion?
  • We will now vote on the motion that All in favor

Roberts Rules of Order
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//

Points of Contact
  • Beatrice Barajas, Secretary
  • Kim Sidel, Analyst
  • Neil Beckwith, Consultant
  • Karla Browning, Consultant
  • Ron Schneider, Consultant
  • Mark Eitrem, Supervisor
  • (517) 373-4631
  • http//
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