Procedures for Entering Executive Session:
Meetings of the School Committee are generally open to the public and media representatives; however, the committee has the right to convene in a closed executive session when it meets the following procedural conditions imposed by state law:
- The Committee will first convene in an open session for which due notice has been given. (As required by law, a minimum of 48 hours advance notice will be given for any meeting of the School Committee, except in the case of emergency. See Policy BEDA.)
- The Chair, or acting chair, will state the purpose for the executive session, stating all subjects that may be revealed without compromising the purpose for which the executive session was called.
- A majority of the members must vote to enter the executive session, with the vote taken by roll call and recorded in the official minutes.
- The Chair, or acting chair, will state before entering the executive session whether the committee will reconvene in open session after the executive session.
- An accurate record of the executive session will be maintained as minutes.
Reasons for Meeting in Executive Session:
State law (MGL 30A:21) puts specific limitations on the purposes for which executive sessions may be convened. The School Committee is a public body, and a public body may enter executive sessions only for the following purposes:
- To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than the professional competence, of a single individual or to discuss the discipline or dismissal of, including the hearing of charges against, a member of the Committee, a school department employee, student, or other individual. Prior written notification of the individual is required, at least forty-eight hours prior to the proposed executive session. Notification may be waived upon written agreement of the parties. The individual involved has the right to be present at such an executive session, has the right to have counsel or a representative of his/her choosing to be present for the purpose of advising the individual and not for the purpose of active participation in the executive session, has the right to speak in his/her own behalf, and has the right to cause an independent record to be created of the executive session at the individual’s expense. An open meeting will be held if the individual involved so requests.
- To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel or to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel.
- To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting might have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the Committee, and the Chair so declares.
- To discuss the deployment of security personnel or devices, or strategies with respect to these.
- To investigate charges of criminal misconduct or to consider the filing of criminal complaints.
- To consider transactions of real estate, if the Chair declares that an open meeting might be detrimental to the negotiating position of the Committee.
- To comply with, or act under the authority of, any general or specific law or federal grant-in- aid requirements.
- To consider or interview applicants for employment by a preliminary screening committee if the Chair declares that an open meeting will have a detrimental effect in obtaining qualified applicants. However, any meeting, including meetings of a preliminary screening committee, to consider and interview applicants who have passed a prior preliminary screening must be held in open session.
- To meet or confer with a mediator with respect to any litigation or public business. (see MGL 233:23C)
The Superintendent and/or his designee will attend all executive sessions except those which pertain to the Superintendent’s employment.Accurate records of the proceedings conducted in executive session will be kept and may remain secret only so long as their publication would defeat the purpose of the session. The committee, or its Chair, will review executive session minutes for possible declassification at reasonable intervals and at least once each year. Then the purpose for which a valid executive session was held has been served, the minutes shall be disclosed unless one of the exemptions under state law (MGL 4:7, 30A:22f)warrants continued non-disclosure. Such determination will be announced at the Committee’s next meeting and the announcement will be included in the minutes.
Executive session minutes are approved in executive session and are reviewed for declassification during meetings in executive session. (MGL30A:22f-h)
Upon request by any individual to inspect or copy the minutes of an executive session or any portion thereof, the Committee will respond to the request in 10 days following receipt and will release any such minutes not covered by a lawful exemption. However, if the Committee has not yet reviewed the minutes of that Executive Session, the Committee will perform the review and release the non-exempt minutes, or any portion thereof, not later than the Committee’s next meeting or 30 days,whichever occurs first.
Voting in Executive Session:
All votes taken in executive session will be recorded roll call votes, and will become part of the minutes of executive sessions.
Closed Meeting for Employee Grievance Hearing:
Current contracts negotiated with employee unions require some grievances filed by an employee to be heard before the appropriate School Committee as one of the steps in the grievance procedure. The School Committee has no power to rule on an employee’s grievance. Personnel matters are confidential, and such grievance hearings are closed meetings.
Region Voted to Approve: 12/07/11
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve: