6/29/20 Update: Boards and commissions can continue meeting via telephone and video conference from now until July 24, 2020.

6/5/20 Update: As of today, Section 2(c) of the Open Meetings Law has been extended, granting public boards the ability to hold open meetings via electronic means through June 26, 2020. This update continues to require boards to:

  • Provide written certification that the public body was otherwise unable to operate due to a quorum requirement in compliance with La. R.S. 42:19. (Gov. Proclamation 59, section 2(C))
  • That certification must be posted at the same time and in the same manner as the agenda for the meeting. (Gov. Proclamation 59, section 2(C))
  • Make all efforts to provide for observation and input by members of the public. (Gov. Proclamation 59, section 2(C)).

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in the usual way of conducting the affairs of respective organizations. As you are aware, meetings for charter school boards are subject to the Open Meetings Law (La R.S. 42:11), which requires that public business must be conducted openly. However, in light of the current crisis, adjustments are being allowed regarding how public business is conducted.

This morning, Governor Edwards issued Proclamation Number JBE 2020 – 30, which provides, in pertinent part, information regarding public meetings:

Section 4: All state agencies, boards and commissions, and local political subdivisions of the state shall provide for attendance at essential governmental meetings via teleconference or video conference and such attendance shall be allowed during the pendency of this emergency. All efforts shall be made to provide for observation and input by members of the public. Before any meeting conducted pursuant to this section, the state agency, boards, and commission, or local political subdivision of the state shall first provide a written certification that it will otherwise be unable to operate due to quorum requirements. Such certification shall be posted at the same time and in the same manner as the agenda for the meeting. Nothing in this order shall be interpreted to waive any notice requirements.

Although it does not specifically state that this applies to Charter Schools, it appears that all board meetings shall be made available to the public through virtual means. This may include but is not limited to teleconference, Zoom, and webinar formats for meetings. Because, under the Open Meetings Law, a quorum can only be met by an in-person meeting, a certification must be posted with the Notice of the Meeting informing the public that the meeting must be telephonic or virtual because the organization would be unable to operate otherwise due to quorum requirements. The Notice requirements remain in place and have not been waived. Accordingly, the notice and certification must be provided to the public twenty-four (24) hours before the meeting.

Click here to see a copy of the proclamation, and contact us with any questions you may have.