117P - Open Meetings and Closed Meetings

  • Open Meetings

    Meetings of the School Board or any committee thereof shall be open to the public except those meetings when the School Board adjourns to a closed meeting. The public shall be encouraged by all reasonable media to attend Board meetings.

    Closed Meetings

    1. No closed meetings are held by the School Board or any committee thereof unless the School Board or committee has taken an affirmative recorded vote in an open meeting approving a motion which (i) identifies the subject matter, (ii) states the purpose of the meeting as authorized in Va. Code § 2.2-3711.A or other provision of law and (iii) cites the applicable exemption or exemptions from open meeting requirements provided in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other provision of law. The matters contained in such motion are set forth in detail in the minutes of the open meeting. A general reference to the provisions of FOIA or authorized exemptions from open meeting requirements, or the subject matter of the closed meeting is not sufficient to satisfy the requirements for holding a closed meeting.

      The School Board or any committee thereof may permit non-members to attend a closed meeting of the Board or committee if such persons are deemed necessary or if their presence will reasonably aid the Board or committee in its consideration of a topic which is a subject of the meeting. School Board members may attend closed meetings held by any committee or subcommittee of the Board, or a closed meeting of any entity, however designated, created to perform the delegated functions of or to advise the Board. School Board members shall in all cases be permitted to observe the closed meeting of the committee, subcommittee or entity. In addition to the requirements of Va. Code § 2.2-3707, the minutes of the committee or other entity shall include the identity of the School Board members who attended the closed meeting.

    2. The School Board, or committee thereof, in holding a closed meeting, restricts its discussion during the closed meeting only to those purposes specifically exempted under FOIA and identified in the motion required in Section A, above.

    3. At the conclusion of any closed meeting, the School Board or committee thereof immediately reconvenes in an open meeting and takes a roll call or other recorded vote to be included in the minutes, certifying that to the best of each member's knowledge (i) only public business matters lawfully exempted from open meeting requirements and (ii) only such public business matters as were identified in the motion by which the closed meeting was convened were heard, discussed or considered in the meeting. Any member of the Board or committee who believes that there was a departure from the requirements of (i) and (ii) above, so states prior to the vote, indicating the substance of the departure that, in the member’s judgment, has taken place. The statement is recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

    4. Failure of the certification required by Section C, above, to receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present during a meeting does not affect the validity or confidentiality of such meeting with respect to matters considered therein in compliance with these provisions. The recorded vote and any statement made in connection therewith, upon proper authentication, constitutes evidence in any proceeding brought to enforce FOIA.

    5. Except as specifically authorized by law, in no event may the School Board or committee thereof take action on matters discussed in any closed meeting, except at an open meeting for which notice was given pursuant to Va. Code § 2.2-3707.

    The School Board is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 if a court finds that the Board voted to certify a closed meeting in accordance with Section C above and such certification was not in accordance with FOIA.


    Legal Reference(s):
    Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, Section(s) 2.2-3711, 2.2-3705.1, 2.2-3705.5, 2.2-3712 and 2.2-3714


    Adopted: February 6, 1990
    Amended: October 18, 1999
    Amended: October 17, 2006
    Amended: June 19, 2007
    Amended: May 21, 2013
    Amended: August 18, 2015
    Amended: August 16, 2016
    Amended: July 19, 2017
    Amended: June 25, 2019