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Vox Hawkeye A Study in the Intellectual Call for Open Government (and How One State Heeded It)
Unformatted Document Text:  public, and should be closed only for reasons expressly permitted by law. School boards should make every effort to minimize the number of closed meetings. We support revising the present law and limiting the option of closing school board meetings to those few reasons which we view as essential to proper handling of school board responsibilities. If those essential reasons are listed in the law, we are willing to see the broad “other exceptional reason” clause abolished. 82 Davidson then proceeded to enumerate what he and his organization thought would be situations in which a closed school board meeting might be warranted: 1. Consideration of the employment, evaluation, appointment or discharge of an individual whose reputation might suffer needless or irreparable injury. These personnel matters, as they pertain to an individual employee or prospective employee, should be conducted privately. Public employers should have the opportunity to discuss the relative qualifications of job applicants, an employee’s performance and the possibility of discharge in closed session, provided that other laws are followed. 2. Discussion of the proposed purchase or rental of real estate. It is our opinion that the premature disclosure of potential real estate transactions could cause price speculations which would increase the cost to a district’s taxpayers. 3. Hearings to determine possible disciplinary action against students where an executive session is requested (by the student and/or parents). If requested by the student or the student’s parent or guardian, student suspension or expulsion hearings should be conducted in closed session. It appears desirable to have the opportunity to avoid a situation that would embarrass or label a student and thus inhibit the possibility of rehabilitation. 4. Review of confidential documents as defined in Section 68A.7 of the Code. Chapter 68A pertains to public documents and the access of citizens to those documents. Section 68A.7 lists certain documents as confidential and not subject to public disclosure. It would be contradictory to have confidential documents specified in the Code and not allow the governing board to review those documents in closed session. 5. Matters in litigation. This should pertain to pending and prospective litigation. It seems to us that if there is a threat of a lawsuit and discussions are held with legal counsel about prospects and strategies, these talks should be allowed to be private. 82 Ibid.

Authors: stepanek, steve.
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public, and should be closed only for reasons expressly permitted by law.  School boards should 
make every effort to minimize the number of closed meetings.  We support revising the present 
law and limiting the option of closing school board meetings to those few reasons which we view 
as essential to proper handling of school board responsibilities.  If those essential reasons are 
listed in the law, we are willing to see the broad “other exceptional reason” clause abolished.
         Davidson then proceeded to enumerate what he and his organization thought would be situations in 
which a closed school board meeting might be warranted:  
1. Consideration of the employment, evaluation, appointment or discharge of an individual 
whose reputation might suffer needless or irreparable injury.  These personnel matters, as 
they pertain to an individual employee or prospective employee, should be conducted 
privately.  Public employers should have the opportunity to discuss the relative qualifications 
of job applicants, an employee’s performance and the possibility of discharge in closed 
session, provided that other laws are followed.
2. Discussion  of   the   proposed  purchase   or   rental   of   real   estate.     It   is  our   opinion  that   the 
premature disclosure of potential real estate transactions could cause price speculations which 
would increase the cost to a district’s taxpayers.
3. Hearings to determine possible disciplinary action against students where an executive 
session is requested (by the student and/or parents).  If requested by the student or the 
student’s parent or guardian, student suspension or expulsion hearings should be conducted in 
closed session.  It appears desirable to have the opportunity to avoid a situation that would 
embarrass or label a student and thus inhibit the possibility of rehabilitation.
4. Review of confidential documents as defined in Section 68A.7 of the Code.  Chapter 68A 
pertains to public documents and the access of citizens to those documents.  Section 68A.7 
lists certain documents as confidential and not subject to public disclosure.  It would be 
contradictory to have confidential documents specified in the Code and not allow the 
governing board to review those documents in closed session.
5. Matters in litigation. This should pertain to pending and prospective litigation.  It seems to us 
that if there is a threat of a lawsuit and discussions are held with legal counsel about 
prospects and strategies, these talks should be allowed to be private.

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