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June 26, 2019

5/17/2019 10:53:00 AM
Iowa-Grant School Board holds informational meeting with District Attorney and NEOLA

By Carley Rider
Board policies and requirements of members were of the main topics of the May 13 Iowa-Grant school board meeting. In attendance at the meeting were Scott Brown, a representative of NEOLA, a cooperative policy developing agency, and Shana Lewis, the district's lawyer.
NEOLA representative, Scott Brown offered the board information of what NEOLA is and does, the benefits working with NEOLA, average costs, examples of where NEOLA has helped to update important policies, and gave examples of what policies the district most needs to update. NEOLA is currently employed by over 245 school districts across the country. NEOLA provides two updates per year to their school districts. This allows school boards to have policies up to date in regards of legality.
Shana Lewis was in attendance to conduct a school board orientation. Lewis also shared information with the board, and answered any questions the board had. Lewis has been the district's attorney since 2003. Lewis went over the Broad Power statute, which enables a school board to authorize any school board action that is within the comprehensive meaning of the terms of the duties and powers, if the action is not prohibited by the laws of the federal government or of Wisconsin, according to Lewis. Lewis also noted that the board as a whole holds power- no one individual can act with authority unless explicitly provided that authority. Lewis also discussed social media with constituents, requirement of public records, and that members cannot create a quorum or walking quorum, unless a meeting is posted. The district's lawyer also touched base on how meetings must be conducted- starting in open session, then moving to closed session with a majority vote. The discussion also included all decisions of hire must be in open session, whereas discussion can take place in closed session.
Among topics Shana Lewis discussed, a question from 2nd-8th grade principal, Robyn Oberfoell regarding comments of open session portions of meetings being video-recorded and posted. Lewis stated there is no obligation to do so. Lewis noted that if the district were to post recordings, those recording must be available and accessible to all people. A lack of accessibility could potentially result in lawsuit. An example Lewis provided was closed captioning on videos. Lewis stated, "there is no definitive answer" in regards to whether the district should provide these recordings to the public.
New Business
NEOLA presentation by Scott Brown about how NEOLA could help to review/revise board policies. NEOLA currently is employed by 245 districts throughout the country. They provide their schools with two updates per year on all policies. They have assisted in 315 policy updates since January 2016. The average cost per year over a six year period would be $5108





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