Following is the text of what I read at the 3/20 meeting and provided to the board members. What I said was slightly different than what was provided to the board, and I’ve added the relevant verbal additions [in square brackets]. Some sentences are links to the posts that contain the detail.
On February 28th, 2019, I sent an e-mail to Ms. Taylor documenting how the Heyworth Board of Education meetings are violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Ms. Taylor replied the next day, confirming that she received a copy and stating she would share it with you, so I assume you’ve seen it at this point. I’ve included a copy, just in case. I’ve seen changes reflected on the website that resolve some of the issues raised. This current meeting violates items 2 and 3 of the 11 documented in that e-mail.
To summarize the requirement, Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/2.02(a), “An agenda for each regular meeting shall be posted at the principal office of the public body and at the location where the meeting is to be held at least 48 hours in advance of the holding of the meeting. A public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall also post on its website the agenda of any regular meetings of the governing body of that public body.”
The districts attorneys office runs a blog, and on February 19, 2013 posted the following regarding meeting agenda posting. ”In addition, be sure that your place of posting – in addition to the school district’s website – is in a location that can be accessed by the public at any time (i.e. an outside window).” [the text provided to the board includes the URL to the post]
I stopped by the District offices and the Heyworth High school on March 18th shortly before 8pm. Took pictures of the outside of the building, entered the doors I could to take pictures of what seemed to be appropriate areas to publicly post the required agenda. As you can see in the pictures I’ve included, the agendas were not posted. After getting home I checked the District web site. As you can see in the attached screen shot, the agenda was not posted on the web site at that time. In fact, as of 5pm this evening, the agenda is still not posted publicly [and on my drive here I drove through, took pictures, still it’s not posted publicly].
There is an exception to that requirement allowed by 5 ILCS 120/2.02(c), “If a notice or agenda is not continuously available for the full 48-hour period due to actions outside of the control of the public body, then that lack of availability does not invalidate any meeting or action taken at a meeting.” Since I was able to get a copy of tonight’s agenda from someone on the inside, I do not believe this exception exists.
The above images where provided as evidence, and a copy was provided to the board as evidence that the requirement had not been met. I then continued…
I am requesting that this meeting be immediately adjourned and rescheduled with proper public notice required under the OMA. If rescheduled to a date other than the normally scheduled time, I request that the board announce the new date and time on their Facebook page in light of how modern news media works. I’d rather not miss this meeting like I did when the sub-committee meetings where rescheduled without public notice.
The Board did not respond, other than Mr. Brannock and Ms. Taylor exchanging whispers and nods, and they continued with the meeting instead of adjourning. No member of the Board objected to continuing. As a result, on 3/21 I filed a Request for Review with the Illinois State Attorney Public Access Counselors office asking them to review and address the violations that I feel have occurred.