Friday, June 4, 2010

What is the Agenda?

Tonight, Friday night, the AAPS Board is having a meeting at 5 p.m.
A regular meeting.
The agenda is still not posted.
I actually have no idea as to whether the agendas are typically posted in advance. I assumed that they are, but I have never looked before.
I also assumed that there was an Open Meetings Act requirement to post agendas in advance (24 hours? 48 hours?). As far as I can tell, there's no requirement about posting agendas in the OMA.
On the AAPS web site, I also couldn't find any evidence that there is an AAPS board policy about posting the agenda.
If the board typically posts the agenda in advance, then I would like to know why they didn't post this one.
If the board doesn't typically post the agenda in advance, then I would like to know why not.

Often you can't find things you want to find on the AAPS web site, but I will say this: if there is no requirement from the Open Meetings Act to post agendas, then the AAPS School Board--and every other school board--should make it board policy to post agendas at least 24 hours in advance. They can always be amended.

Failure to post agendas can only be interpreted, by parents and taxpayers like myself, as a way to depress attendance and reduce transparency. And this is even more true in a case like this, where the meeting is scheduled for
Friday at 5 p.m.
And where the meeting is an additional meeting.
You could call the lack of an agenda sneaky. Or misguided.
In any case, we are back to the issue that keeps repeating: Transparency.
Process is important. 
And agenda has two meanings: 1) The agenda for the meeting is posted and 2) We will try to move this agenda forward.

I think that the meeting is going to discuss transportation consolidation, but I don't have any proof of that. So when I ask, "What is the agenda?" I am asking both the simple question of "What is on the list to discuss for the evening?" and the more complex and less transparent question of "If there is no agenda posted, does that mean that someone has a particular agenda that they are trying to push?" In the case of transportation, my guess is that the administration does have an agenda they are trying to push, and they are trying to keep it out of the public eye by not posting the agenda.

I suggest you send your comments, on both transparency and transportation, to the Board of Education at


  1. OMA definitely addresses this issue.

    Here are some excerpts:

    Timing of Notice:

    Regular meetings. Once a school board sets its regular schedule of meetings, the board then has ten days to notify the public of the schedule. If there is a change in schedule, new notice must be given no more than three days after the meeting at which the change occurs.

    Special meetings. For special or rescheduled meetings, school boards must post a meeting notice at least 18 hours before the meeting. This minimum notice requirement is not fulfilled if the public is denied access to the notice of the meeting for any part of the 18 hours.

    Place of posting. Public notice must be posted at the principal office of the board of education and at the principal office of the school district. Usually, both of these are at the same location. The board may choose to post notice at additional locations and may use cable television, the school Web site, and other means of posting notice. Many districts post notices at the site of every school building in the district to provide greater accessibility for citizens.

    Ruth, I am guessing that it is the location of the posting that may be the issue. Was this meeting posted on the door of your administration building? If so, that's pretty much all they're obligated to do. Our district is good about that, but how many people drive over to that building to check, say, EVERY DAY just in case there's a special meeting coming up?? I know I don't.

    Ypsi is having a special meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. regarding transportation. I read about it awhile ago on, and just saw it in the weekly update email that I receive. But it's not posted in the school mailroom, where such things usually are, and it's not on the website.

    Why does this have to be so difficult? Why does everything have to seem so covert?

    Keep up the good work.

    - YpsiAnon

  2. The meeting has been posted for a while. I assume it is on the administration building door, but it is also on the web site.
    However, that is essentially just time and place. The agenda is not posted.
    Interestingly, our state's Open Meetings Act does not address agendas. Other states do. I found a nice summary of midwest state's Open Meetings Act regulations, along with summaries and suggestions for improvement, at the Citizen Advocacy Center Open Government web site:
    And one of their suggestions for improvement is to require posting of agendas.

  3. Sorry I misunderstood. In Ypsi, whenever I have seen the meeting posted, the agenda is always a part of it. I hadn't considered having one without the other! (However, the email today did not mention the topic of Monday's meeting.)

    - YpsiAnon

  4. All,
    The meeting agenda was mistakenly not posted with the notice. It is the districts practice to post the agendas with the meeting notice. It was a simple error. It is being posted as I type this response. There was no intent to convey secrecy or some hidden agenda.Which is what many people jump to conclude.

    The only agenda item is transportation consolidation. This was discussed at the last board meeting. In order to meet deadlines this meeting was scheduled for a first reading with the second reading coming next Wednesday.
    Liz Margolis