ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NOT USED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN THE SUMMARIES OF JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL DECISIONS PREPARED BY NYPPL

August 19, 2010

School board meetings are open to the public

School board meetings are open to the public
Goetschius v Greenburgh 11 UFSD, 244 A.D.2d 552

The school board of the Greenburgh 11 Union Free School District barred some of its educators from attending a board meeting at which it planned to consider the termination of certain teachers.

The educators sued, contending that the board’s action violated New York’s Open Meetings Law [Article 7, Public Officers Law]. The board, citing Sections 2801 and 3020-a of the Education Law, also argued that its action was lawful as those sections “supersede the Open Meetings Law.”

The Appellate Division rejected the board’s argument, pointing out that:

1. Sections 2801 and 3020-a “do not specifically allow the Board to exclude [the educators] from Board meetings” but, rather, allow boards of education to adopt rules and regulations for the maintenance of public order on school property;

2. Section 1708(3) specifically provides that “the meetings of all such boards [of education] shall be open to the public;”

3. Section 1708(3) overrides the general provisions of Sections 2801 and 3020-a; and

4. The State’s Open Meetings Law is not superseded by either Section 2801 or Section 3020-a.

The Appellate Division also observed that Section 110 of the Public Officers Law states that “any provision of a ... rule or regulation affecting a public body which is more restrictive with respect to public access shall be deemed superseded hereby to the extent that such provision is more restrictive than this article.”

The Appellate Division indicated that the Board “engaged in a persistent pattern of deliberate violations of the Open Meetings Law through insufficient notice, unreasonable starting times, improper convening of executive sessions, and improper exclusion of members of the public. It then upheld a Supreme Court justice’s ruling annulling certain of the board’s actions and awarding attorney fees to the educators.

CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE, OR CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING SUCH MATERIAL, DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
New York Public Personnel Law. Email: publications@nycap.rr.com