Effective governing board meetings are critical to the success of every charter school. Board meetings are needed to create and approve governing board policies, but they must also be used for approval and review of the school’s budget and to hear issues of importance to the school’s stakeholders.
It takes some deliberate planning to create a high-quality meeting of the board. This edition of the Board Bulletin outlines three suggestions and offers a handful of resources to consider when planning your school’s next governing board meeting.
1. Use a Brown Act Approved Agenda Format
In 2019, SB 126 became law and mandated that all charter schools follow the Ralph M. Brown Act; further adding to the complexity of planning and holding board meetings. Charter school governing board meetings must be useful, strategic and timely, and now must also be Brown Act-compliant.
To aid you in your compliance, CSDC has provided a sample Brown Act-complaint agenda format that contains the required language and structure for a regular meeting of the Board. Note: the final agenda must be posted 72 hours prior to a “regular” meeting which is defined as a meeting that was scheduled and published as part of a series of regularly scheduled board meetings.
In a regular meeting, the agenda will contain those items listed for “open,” or public session. Additionally, it is likely that your school’s meeting agenda will require a series of “closed session” items as well. However, it is critical that your school’s closed session items be expressly authorized by statute, and the topics are narrowly construed. The Brown Act has a strong bias in favor of open meetings, so only a few items are allowed to be discussed behind closed doors. Sensitive, embarrassing, or controversial content does not justify closed session, unless the topic is expressly allowed, and there is no such thing as a semi-closed meeting. The (free to CSDC members) CSDC Online Brown Act Training on Closed Session goes into this area of agenda/meeting planning in more detail.
2. Hold a Pre-Meeting
No one wants to add another meeting to already busy calendars but holding a pre-meeting to develop the agenda and to make sure meeting items are appropriate and timely can be useful and often saves time in the end. CSDC recommends ...