The Public Meetings Law applies to all meetings of a quorum of a governing body for which a quorum is required in order to make a decision or to deliberate on a decision on any matter. Even if a meeting is for the sole purpose of gathering information to serve as the basis for a subsequent decision or recommendation by the governing body, the meetings law will apply. This requirement serves the policy expressed in ORS 192.620 that an informed public must be aware not only of the decisions of governing bodies but also of “the information upon which such decisions were made.”
Since the Phoenix-Talent School Board consists of seven members, a "quorum" means four members. While it is possible for the board to hold a meeting with only four members present, in order for any motion to pass, they must vote unanimously. A majority vote (4) means a majority of the entire board and not just of those present. For example, if all 7 members are present and 4 members vote yes and 3 members vote no, a motion passes. If only 5 members are present and 3 vote yes and 2 vote no, the motion fails because it failed to receive a majority of the full board.
All regular, special and emergency meetings of the Board will be open to the public except as provided by law. Access to and the ability to attend all meetings (excluding executive sessions) by telephone, video or other electronic or virtual means will be made available when reasonably possible.
THREE TYPES OF MEETINGS
Regular—A regular meeting is generally one that is included on the official school year board calendar that is approved during the month of May and begins in July for the next school year. For PTS, these are generally held on the first and third Thursday of the month. This may also include a work session that is regularly scheduled annually, such as the Summer Board Workshop.
Special—Special meetings can be called as needed to conduct any business and can include any meeting that is scheduled after the board calendar is approved. As much notice as possible should be provided, but 24 hours’ notice is required. The Board can conduct any type of business at a special meeting.
Emergency—Emergency meetings can be held only in the case of an actual emergency that justifies less than 24 hours’ notice. Only matters relating to the emergency can be discussed or acted upon at the emergency meeting.
Executive sessions can be held during a regular, special or emergency meeting as an agenda item, but are generally not stand-alone meetings. The general public is not allowed to observe executive sessions and no board action may occur during these sessions. Minutes must be kept for the executive session, but those minutes are not released to the public. The media is allowed to attend executive sessions except meetings relating to labor negotiations, to expel a student, to discuss a student’s confidential medical record or for litigation in which the reporter or media is involved.
EXECUTIVE SESSION can be held for the following reasons: ORS 192.660
>To consider the employment of a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent. ORS 192.660(2)(a). The AG manual specifies that this is only for the initial hiring of an individual. This does not apply to appointing a board member to fill a vacancy. There are additional advertising and procedural requirements found in ORS 192.660(7)(d).
>To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing. ORS 192.660(2)(b). The person addressed in the complaint must be notified in order to give them the opportunity to request an open session.
>To conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to carry on labor negotiations. ORS 192.660(2)(d). The actual labor negotiations must be held in open session unless both parties agree to hold them in executive session. ORS 192.660(3).
>To conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to negotiate real property transactions. ORS 192.660(2)(e).
>To consider records exempt by law from public inspection. ORS 192.660(2)(f).
>To consult with counsel concerning the legal rights and duties of a public body with regard to current litigation or litigation likely to be filed. ORS 192.660(2)(h).
>To review and evaluate the performance of the chief executive officer, employee or staff member, unless the person whose performance is being reviewed and evaluated requests an open hearing. ORS 192.660(2)(i).
>To consider matters relating to school safety or a plan that responds to safety threats made towards a school. ORS 192.660(2)(k).
>To conduct a hearing on the expulsion of a student or to review a student’s confidential medical records. ORS 332.061(1).
Meetings will take place in person at varied school locations (check the agenda for location). The public is invited to share comments during the designated time on the agenda only. If you are interested in providing citizen comments, complete the intent to speak form found here, and give to the Board Secretary prior to the start of the meeting. If someone prefers not to speak at a meeting but would like to share a comment with the board, please complete the public comment form (English/Spanish) and your comment will be shared with the board. Written comments should be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on the day before the meeting.
The community has an opportunity to speak in-person (onsite) or virtually. For additional information and guidelines on providing public comment, please see board policy BDDH Public Comment at Board Meetings.
Email the Board
The public is welcome to email the Board with any questions or comments not intended for citizen comments at a meeting. Please send emails to the attention of Board Secretary, Denise Skinner, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions and information, please call 541-535-1511.
Resources to help explain Oregon's public records and meetings law including the Oregon Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual are available on the Oregon Dept. of Justice/Attorney General website. Click on the link.
(Information on this page is provided by OSBA-Oregon School Boards Association)