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HARMONY WITH LAW

Newly enacted law is applicable when effective.  No policy or regulation, or any portion thereof, shall be operative if it is found to be in conflict with applicable law.

Severability

If any portion of a policy or its application to any person or circumstance is found to be invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of policy that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application; and to this end the provisions of the TSBVI policy manual are declared to be severable.

ORGANIZATION

Legally referenced policies contain provisions from federal and state statutes and regulations, case law, and other legal authority that together form the framework for decision making and implementation.  These policies are binding on the School until the cited provisions are repealed, revised, or superseded by legislative, regulatory, or judicial action.

TERMS

The terms “Trustee” and “Board member” are used interchangeably in the policy manual.  Both terms are intended to reflect all the duties and obligations of the office.

POLICY-RELATED FUNCTIONS

The following guidelines address policy functions:

  1. Policy development is a cooperative effort involving the Board, the staff, members of the community, and other information sources.
  2. Policy adoption is the function of the Board.
  3. Policy implementation is a function of the Superintendent and staff.
  4. Policy monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating are functions of the Board based on information received from the staff, the community, and other sources.

POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND ADOPTION

Policies and policy amendments may be initiated by the Superintendent, Board members, school personnel, or community citizens, but shall be recommended for the Board’s consideration by the Superintendent.

Effective Date

Policies shall become effective upon Board adoption or at a future date designated by the Board at the time of adoption.

Evaluation

The Board may establish a time frame for monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating designated policies.

OFFICIAL POLICY MANUAL

The Board shall designate one copy of the policy manual as the official policy manual of the School, as well as a copy of the Board Operating Procedures.  The official copies shall be kept in the central administration office, and the Superintendent or designee shall be responsible for its accuracy and integrity and shall maintain an historical record of the School’s policy manual.  If discrepancies occur between different copies of the manual, the version contained in the official policy manual shall be regarded as authoritative.

EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

The Superintendent shall have the authority to make editorial administrative changes to policies, such as changes in program and job titles, staff names assigned to Title IX, Title VII and other such duties, telephone numbers, and addresses that do not alter substantive portions or the intent of policies.  Administrative changes that are made under the provisions of this policy shall go into effect 10 days after the Board receives a copy of the amended policy.  A cover letter shall accompany the distribution of the policy that clearly states what changes were made; that they were made by the Superintendent; and that the amendment shall go into effect in 10 calendar days.

WAIVERS

Except as indicated below at Restrictions, the School may apply to the Commissioner of Education for a waiver of a requirement or prohibition imposed by the Education Code or rule of the State Board of Education or Commissioner.  An application for a waiver must include:

  1. A written plan approved by the Board that states the achievement objectives of the School and the inhibition imposed on those objectives by the requirement or prohibition; and
  2. Written comments from the Instructional Planning Committee.

Education Code 7.056(a)(b)

Submission and Approval

The application shall be submitted to the Commissioner not later than the 31st day before the School intends to take action requiring a waiver.  If the Commissioner does not notify the School of an objection within 30 days after receiving the application, the waiver is granted.  Education Code 7.056(b)(c)

Duration

A waiver is effective for the period stated in the application, which cannot exceed three years.  If TSBVI has received a waiver for three years, it may receive an exemption from the requirement, restriction, or prohibition at the end of that period if it has achieved the objectives stated in the application.  The exemption remains in effect until the Commissioner determines that achievement levels of the School have declined.  Education Code 7.056(d)

Restrictions

The School may not receive an exemption or waiver from a requirement, restriction, or prohibition imposed by federal or state law or rule relating to:

  1. A prohibition on conduct that constitutes a criminal offense.
  2. Essential knowledge or skills under Education Code 28.002, or high school graduation requirements under Education Code 28.025;
  3. TSBVI statutory accountability under Education Code 30.002 and 30.005, and standards set by the Memorandum of Understanding with TEA;
  4. Extracurricular activities under Education Code 33.081 or participation in a University Interscholastic League area, regional, or state competition under Education Code 33.0812;
  5. Health and safety under Education Code Chapter 38;
  6. Elementary school class size limits, except as provided by Education Code 25.112;
  7. Removal of a disruptive student from the classroom under Education Code Chapter 37, Subchapter A;
  8. At-risk programs under Education Code 29, Subchapter C;
  9. Educator rights and benefits under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapters A, C, D, E, F, G, I and Chapter 2, Subchapter A;
  10. Special education programs under Education Code Chapter 29, Subchapter A;
  11. Bilingual education programs, including ESL, under Education Code Chapter 29, Subchapter B; or
  12. First day of instruction requirements under Education Code 25.0811.

Education Code 7.056(e); [ Note:  As a state agency, TSBVI’s purchasing is subject to the Gov’t Code, not the Education Code, therefore, no waivers are required.]

Adopted:             3/7/80

Amended:           9/10/82, 3/22/91, 9/27/91, 3/27/92, 1/29/93, 3/25/94, 3/21/97, 1/25/08, 11/17/17, 9/27/19

Reviewed:           1/31/03

Board meetings are held to transact the business of the School in the presence of the public.  So that citizens have the opportunity to be informed about the operations of the School, meetings are open to the public, except when closed meetings are conducted, as permitted by the Open Meetings Act.  The Board shall provide opportunities at its meetings for citizens to address the Board in public, but may impose reasonable restraints on the length of presentations, and, in so doing, shall not unfairly discriminate among views seeking expression.  Gov't Code 551.002,.003; Tex. Constitution Art. I, Sec. 27

UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

TSBVI shall take no action abridging the freedom of speech or the right of the people to petition the Board for redress of grievances. U.S. Const. Amend. I, XIV

When the board sits in public meetings to conduct public business and hear the views of citizens, it may not discriminate between speakers on the basis of the content of their speech or the message it conveys.  Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Virginia, 515 U.S.819, 828 (1995); City of Madison v. Wis. Emp. Rel. Comm’n, 429 U.S. 167, 176 (1976); Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563, 568 (1968)

The Board may create a limited public forum for the purpose of hearing comments from the public so long as:

  1. The Board does not discriminate against speech on the basis of viewpoint;
  2. Any restrictions are reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum; and
  3. The Board provides alternative paths for expressing categories of protected speech that are excluded from the forum.

Fairchild v. Liberty Indep. Sch. Dist., 597 F.3d 747 (5th Cir. 2010)

LIMIT ON PARTICIPATION

Public Comment

The Board shall allow each member of the public who desires to address the Board regarding an item on an agenda for an open meeting of the Board to address the Board regarding the item at the meeting before or during the Board’s consideration of the item.

Public participation is encouraged during the open forum portion of a meeting.  At all other times during Board meetings, the audience shall not enter into discussion, or debate, on matters being considered by the Board, unless recognized by the President. 

Time Limits

No citizen presentation shall exceed five minutes per agenda item.  When the individual members of a delegation of persons have requested to speak on the same or similar topic, the President may request the delegation to designate a single spokesperson, but each citizen has the right to address the Board.

In the event that time allotted to address the Board may be insufficient for a speaker, all speakers who address the Board are encouraged to provide their comments in writing, and if possible, to provide ten copies of their written comments.

Additional Time for Translation

If the Board does not use simultaneous translation equipment in a manner that allows the Board to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously, the amount of time that a member of the public may address the Board through a translator must be given at least twice the amount of time as a member of the public who does not require the assistance of a translator in order to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to address the Board.

A request for an interpreter for a language other than Spanish shall be made in writing at least 5 days prior to the Board meeting so that a professional translator may be located.  Speakers may also provide their own interpreters. 

The following procedures shall apply to citizens' communications:

Sign-Up Sheet

  1. A person or representative of a group or organization shall be required to sign up on a form provided by the Board prior to the beginning of the meeting. The person signing up shall give the subject to be addressed, his or her name, address and telephone number and if applicable, the group or organization the person represents.

No person shall be permitted to exchange time or to yield time to persons not signed up.

  1. Citizens' communications shall be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  2. The Board meetings must focus on the educational needs of visually impaired students. Therefore, speakers shall present their comments in a respectful manner, displaying civility.  Profanity, vulgarity, or character abuse (slander) shall not be permitted.

Board’s Response

  1. Specific factual information or recitation of existing policy may be furnished in response to inquiries; however, except for a proposal to place the subject of the inquiry on the agenda of a subsequent meeting, the Board shall not deliberate or determine any subject that is not on the agenda posted with notice of the meeting. The Board President may direct the Superintendent to respond to questions or statements at a later time; however, Board members shall not conduct a dialogue with a speaker.  [See BE]

Complaints Against Employees

  1. Complaints about specific School personnel are not appropriate for presentation during citizens' communications and shall not be permitted. Such concerns shall first be addressed to the appropriate administrator as required by Board policy, and, if unresolved administratively, may be addressed to the Board as a scheduled agenda item in closed meeting, unless the employee who is the subject of the complaint requests that the complaint be heard in open meeting.  [See DGBA, FNG, GF]

Public Criticism of the Board

  1. The Board may not prohibit public criticism of the Board, including criticism of any act, omission, policy, procedure, program, or service. This does not apply to public criticism that is otherwise prohibited by law such as slander or privacy violations.

Additional Public Forum

  1. In the event these provisions for public comment do not, as determined by the Board, meet the needs of the community, the Board may schedule a public meeting as soon as practicable for the purpose of hearing from additional speakers.

Gov’t Code 551.007

DISRUPTION

It is a criminal offense for a person, with intent to prevent, or disrupt, a lawful meeting, to substantially obstruct, or interfere, with the meeting by physical action, or verbal utterance and thereby curtail the exercise of others' First Amendment rights.  Penal Code 42.05; Morehead v. State, 807 S.W.2d 577 (Tex. Cr. App. 1991).

The Board shall not tolerate disruption of the meeting by members of the public.  If, after at least one warning from the President, any person continues to disrupt the meeting by his, or her, words or actions, the Board President shall request assistance from law enforcement officials or TSBVI Security Officers to have the person removed from the meeting.

Adopted:         3/25/94

Amended:       11/14/97, 3/21/03, 4/1/05, 6/1/18, 1/31/20

Reviewed:       1/24/02

EXCEPTIONS FOR CLOSED MEETINGS

The Board may conduct a closed meeting for the purposes described in the following provisions.

Attorney Consultation

  1. The Board may conduct a private consultation with its attorney only when it seeks the attorney's advice about pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer or on a matter in which the duty of the attorney to the Board under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with the requirement for open meetings.   Gov't Code 551.071 [See BE for permissible methods of communication for attorney consultations]

Real Property

  1. The Board may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property if deliberation in open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the Board's position in negotiations with a third person.  Gov't Code 551.072

Prospective Gift

  1. The Board may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate a negotiated contract for a prospective gift or donation to the School if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the Board's position in negotiations with a third person.  Gov't Code 551.073

Personnel Matters

  1. The Board is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee or to hear a complaint or charges against an officer or employee. However, the Board may not conduct a closed meeting for these purposes if the officer or employee who is the subject of the deliberation or hearing requests a public hearing.  Gov't Code 551.074

    The closed meeting exception for personnel matters does not apply when the Board discusses an independent contractor who is not a TSBVI employee, such as an engineering, architectural, or consultant firm, or when the Board discusses a class or group of employees, not a particular employee.  Atty. Gen. Op. MW-129 (1980), Atty. Gen. Op. H-496 (1975)

Employee-Employee Complaints

The Board is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate a case in which a complaint or charge is brought against a School employee by another employee and the complaint, or charge, directly results in the need for a hearing. However, the Board may not conduct a closed meeting for this purpose if the employee against whom the complaint or charge is brought makes a written request for an open hearing.  Gov't Code 551.082

Student Discipline

  1. The Board is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate a case involving discipline of a public school child.  However, the Board may not conduct a closed meeting for this purpose if the child's parent or guardian makes a written request for an open hearing.  Gov't Code 551.082

Personally Identifiable Student Information

  1. The Board is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate a matter regarding a student if personally identifiable information about the student will necessarily be revealed by the deliberation.

    Directory information about a student at the School is considered to be personally identifiable information about the student for this purpose only if a parent or guardian of the student, or the student if the student has attained 18 years of age, has informed the School that the directory information should not be released without prior consent. [See FL]

    This exception does not apply if an open meeting about the matter is requested in writing by a parent or guardian of the student or by the student if the student has attained 18 years of age.

Gov't Code 551.0821

Security Devices

  1. The Board is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate
    1. the deployment, or specific occasions for implementation, of security personnel, or devices; or
    2. A security audit.

Gov't Code 551.076

  1. A board is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate:
    1. Security assessments or deployments relating to information resources technology;
    2. Network security information as described by Government Code 2059.055 (b); or
    3. The deployment, or specific occasions for implementation, of security personnel, critical infrastructure, or security devices.

Gov’t Code 551.089

Assessment Instruments

  1. The Board shall conduct a closed meeting to discuss, or adopt, individual assessment instruments, or assessment instrument items.  Education Code 39.030(a)

Emergency Management

  1. The Board is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate information confidential under Government Code 418.175-418.182, relating to Homeland Security.  However, the Board must make a tape recording of the proceedings of a closed meeting held to deliberate the information.  Gov’t Code 418.183(f)

Economic Development Negotiations

  1. The Board is not required to conduct an open meeting:
    1. To discuss or deliberate regarding commercial or financial information that the Board has received from a business prospect that the Board seeks to have locate, stay or expand in or near the district and with which the Board is conducting economic development negotiations; or
    2. To deliberate the offer of a financial or other incentive to such a business prospect.

Gov't Code 551.087

PROCEDURES FOR CLOSED MEETINGS

If a closed meeting is allowed, the Board shall not conduct the closed meeting unless a quorum of the Board first convenes in an open meeting for which proper notice has been given (see BE) and the Board President has publicly announced that a closed meeting will be held and has identified the section or sections of the Open Meetings Act or other applicable law under which the closed meeting is held and has announced the time.   Gov't Code 551.101, 551.103

Vote or Final Action

A final action, decision, or vote on a matter deliberated in a closed meeting shall be made only in an open meeting for which proper notice has been given.  After a closed meeting and prior to convening in the open meeting, the Board President shall announce the time of convening in open session.  Gov't Code 551.102 (See BE)

Certified Agenda or Tape Recording

The Board shall either keep a certified agenda, or make a recording of the proceedings of each closed meeting, except for private consultations with the School's attorney.  The certified agenda must include a statement of the subject matter of each deliberation, a record of any further action taken, and an announcement by the Board President at the beginning and end of the closed meeting indicating the date and time.  The Board President shall certify that a certified agenda is a true and correct record of the proceedings.  If a recording is made, it must include announcements by the Board President at the beginning and end of the meeting indicating the date and time.  Gov't Code 551.103

“Recording” means a tangible medium on which audio or a combination of audio and video is recorded, including a disk, tape, wire, film, electronic storage drive, or other medium now existing or later developed.  Gov’t Code 551.001(7)

Closed meetings may not be recorded by an individual Trustee against the wishes of a majority of the Board.  Zamora v. Edgewood ISD, 592 S.W.2d 649 (Tex. App.- San Antonio, 1979, writ ref’d n.r.e.)

Preservation

The Board shall preserve the certified agenda or recording of a closed meeting for at least two years after the date of the meeting.  If a legal action involving the meeting is brought within that period, the Board shall preserve the certified agenda or recording while the action is pending.  Gov't Code 551.104(a)

Public Access

A certified agenda or recording of a closed meeting is available for public inspection and copying only under a court order issued as a result of litigation involving an alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Prohibitions

No Board member shall participate in a closed meeting knowing that neither a certified agenda nor a recording of the closed meeting is being made.  Gov't Code 551.145

No individual, corporation, or partnership shall, without lawful authority, disclose to a member of the public the certified agenda or recording of a meeting that was lawfully closed to the public.  Gov't Code 551.146

No Board member shall knowingly call or aid in calling or organizing a closed meeting that is not permitted under the Open Meetings Act, close or aid in closing a regular meeting to the public except as permitted under the Open Meetings Act, or participate in a closed meeting that is not permitted under the Open Meetings Act.  Gov't Code 551.144(a)

Affirmative Defense

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection 551.144(a) that the Board member acted in reasonable reliance on a court order or a written interpretation of the open meetings law contained in an opinion of a court of record, the attorney general, or the Board's attorney.  Gov't Code 551.144(c)

Adopted:   5/8/81

Amended:   10/25/85, 11/12/87, 1/26/90, 3/27/92, 1/29/93, 3/25/94, 11/15/96, 1/24/02, 3/26/04, 4/1/05, 11/20/09, 9/29/17, 4/6/18

Reviewed:

TSBVI GUIDELINES FOR RECORDING
BOARD MEETINGS

Any person in attendance at a TSBVI Board meeting may record the open portion of a meeting by means of a tape recorder, video camera, or other means of aural or visual reproduction.

The Board may adopt reasonable rules to maintain order at its meetings, in accordance with Texas Government Code 551.023.

The Board encourages the press, the broadcast media, and all interested individuals to attend Board meetings and to record all or any part of the open proceedings.  To this end, the School and its staff shall seek to facilitate all reasonable requests relating to recording activities.  In accomplishing these goals, the Board does not intend to prevent or unreasonably impair recording; however, persons using any means of aural or visual reproduction must abide by the following rules at all Board meetings:

1. All equipment that requires setting up must be assembled at least 15 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to start.

2. No strobes, flash lighting, or other bright lights that would impair the conduct of the meeting may be used, unless approval has been obtained from the Board President or the Superintendent before the meeting.

3. The Board proceedings shall not be interrupted for the purpose of accommodating any individual's audio or video recording. Any interviews during meetings shall be conducted outside of the meeting chamber.

4. The presiding officer at the meeting may stop the aural or visual reproduction if the person operating the equipment or the equipment itself is disrupting or in any way interfering with the orderly conduct of the Board meeting or blocking aisles or other means of entrance or exit from the Board room.

5. Stationary equipment that requires setup will not be taken down during the course of the meeting, but may be removed during a recess or after the meeting is over.

6. No recording equipment will be allowed in a closed meeting, except as provided in Government Code 551.103, or otherwise authorized but the Board.

Adopted: 1/29/93

Amended: 3/25/94, 9/29/17

Reviewed: 11/15/96, 1/24/02

The Board may act only by majority vote of the members present at a meeting held in compliance with Chapter 551, Gov’t. Code, at which a quorum of the Board is present and voting. A majority vote is generally determined from a majority of those present and voting, excluding abstentions, assuming a quorum is present.  Education Code 11.051(a-1); Atty. Gen. Op. GA-689 (2009)

DEFINITIONS

Meeting

"Meeting" means a deliberation among a quorum of the Board, or between a quorum of the Board and another person, during which public business or public policy over which the Board has supervision or control is discussed or considered, or during which the Board takes formal action. "Meeting" also means a gathering:

  1. That is conducted by the Board or for which the Board is responsible;
  2. At which a quorum of members of the Board is present;
  3. That has been called by the Board; and
  4. At which the Board members receive information from, give information to, ask questions of, or receive questions from any third person, including an employee of a district, about the public business or public policy over which the Board has supervision or control.

Gov't Code 551.001(4)

 Deliberation

"Deliberation" means a verbal or written exchange between a quorum of the Board, or between a quorum of the Board and another person, concerning an issue within the jurisdiction of the Board .

Gov’t. Code 551.001(2)

Recording

“Recording” means a tangible medium on which audio or a combination of audio and video is recorded, including a disk, tape, wire, film, electronic storage drive, or other medium now existing or later developed.  Gov’t. Code 551.001(7)

Videoconference Call

“Video conference call” means a communication conducted between two or more persons in which one or more of the participants communicate with the other participants through duplex audio or video

signals transmitted over a telephone network, a data network, or the Internet.  Gov’t. Code 551.001(8)

SOCIAL FUNCTION, CONVENTION OR CANDIDATE EVENT

The term "meeting" does not include the gathering of a quorum of a board at a social function unrelated to the public business that is conducted by the board, the attendance by a quorum of the board at a regional, state, or national convention or workshop, ceremonial event, or press conference, if formal action is not taken and any discussion of public business is incidental to the social function, convention, workshop, ceremonial event, press conference, or appearance.  Gov’t. Code 551.001(4)

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE OR AGENCY MEETING

The attendance by a quorum of a board at a meeting of a committee or agency of the legislature is not considered to be a meeting of a board if the deliberations at the meeting by the board members consist only of publicly testifying, publicly commenting, and publicly responding to a question asked by a member of the legislative committee or agency.  Gov't Code 551.0035(b)

SUPERINTENDENT PARTICIPATION

The Board shall provide the Superintendent an opportunity to present at a meeting an oral or written recommendation to the Board on any item that is voted on by the Board at the meeting.  Education Code 11.051(a-1)

OPEN TO PUBLIC

Every meeting of the Board shall be open to the public.  The Board may, however, exclude a witness from a hearing during an examination of another witness in a matter being investigated and may enter into closed meeting, as provided by law.  Gov't Code 551.002, .084, Ch. 551, Subch. D  [See BDB and BEC]

PARENTAL ACCESS

A parent, as defined in Education Code 26.002, is entitled to complete access to any meeting of the Board, other than a closed meeting held in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.  Education Code 26.007(a)

RECORDING

All or any part of an open meeting may be recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder, video camera, or any other means of aural or visual reproduction.  The Board may adopt reasonable rules to maintain order at a meeting, including rules related to the location of recording equipment and the manner in which the recording is conducted.  These rules shall not prevent or unreasonably impair a person from exercising the right to record a meeting that is open to the public.  Gov't Code 551.023 [See BE-E]

MINUTES

The Board shall prepare and keep minutes or make a recording of each open meeting.  The minutes shall state the subject matter of each deliberation and indicate each vote, order, decision, or other action taken.  Gov't Code 551.021

Board Member Attendance

The minutes or recording, as applicable, or a regular or special meeting of the Board must reflect each member’s attendance at or absence from the meeting.  Education Code 11.0621

Availability

The minutes and recordings are public records and shall be available for public inspection and copying on request to the Superintendent or designee.  Gov't Code 551.022; Education Code 11.0621

 

Note:        For website posting requirements regarding the record of a board meeting, see CQA 

NOTICE REQUIRED

The Board shall give written notice of the date, hour, place, and subjects(s) of each meeting it holds.  Gov't Code 551.041

Continued Meeting

If the Board recesses an open meeting to the following regular business day, the board is not required to post notice of the continued meeting if the action is taken in good faith and not to circumvent Gov’t. Code Chapter 551.  If an open meeting is continued to the following regular business day and, on that following day, the board continues the meeting to another day, the board body must give the required written notice of the meeting continued to that other day.  Gov't Code 551.0411(a)

INQUIRY DURING MEETING

If a member of the public or of the Board inquires at a meeting about a subject for which notice has not been given, the notice provisions do not apply to a statement of specific factual information given in response to the inquiry or a recitation of existing policy in response to the inquiry. Any deliberation of or decision about the subject of the inquiry shall be limited to a proposal to place the subject on the agenda of a subsequent meeting.  Gov't Code 551.042

TIME OF NOTICE AND ACCESSIBILITY

Notice of a Board meeting shall be posted on a bulletin board in a place convenient to the public in the central administration office for at least 72 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting.  That notice or a notice posted at another Board-designated place shall at all times be readily accessible to the public for at least 72 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting.  Gov't Code 551.043(a),.051; City of San Antonio v. Fourth Court of Appeals, 820 S.W. 2d 762 (Tex. 1991)

The School satisfies the requirement that the notice must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times by making a good-faith attempt to continuously post the notice on the Internet during the prescribed period.

The School must still comply with the duty to physically post the notice in the central administration office and if the School makes a good-faith attempt to continuously post the notice on the Internet during the prescribed period, the physically posted notice must be readily accessible to the general public during normal business hours.  Gov't Code 551.043(b)

Internet Posting

In addition to the other place at which notice is required to be posted, the Board must also concurrently post notice of a meeting on the Internet Web site.

TSBVI is a state agency with statewide coverage and impact.  Therefore, it must also, concurrently with the notice, post on the Internet Web site the agenda for board meetings, if the agenda differs from the posted notice.

Assuming the School has made a good-faith attempt to comply with the Internet posting requirements, the validity of the posting is not affected by a failure to comply that is due to a technical problem beyond the School’s control.     

Gov’t Code 551056 [See CQA for website posting requirements regarding notice of board meeting.]

SPECIFICITY OF AGENDA/NOTICE

Agendas for all meetings shall be sufficiently specific to inform the public of the subjects to be deliberated at the meeting, setting out any special or unusual matters to be considered or any matter in which the public has a particular interest.  Deliberations or actions pertaining to the Superintendent and principals are of particular public interest, and notice of those subjects must be worded with such clarity that the public will understand what the Board proposes to discuss or accomplish.  Cox Enterprises, Inc. v. Austin ISD, 706 S.W.2d956 (Tex. 1986); Point Isabel ISD v. Hinojosa, 797 S.W.2d 176 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi, 1990, writ denied; Atty. Gen. Ops. M-494 (1969), H-419 (1974), H-662 (1975), H-1045 (1977)

The terms "employee briefing" or "staff briefing" do not give adequate notice of the subject matter to be presented to the Board by employees or staff members.  Atty. Gen. Op. JC-169 (2000)

The subject of a report or update by School staff or a member of the board must be set out in the notice in a manner that informs a reader about the subjects to be addressed.  Atty. Gen. Op. GA-668 (2008)

EMERGENCY MEETING OR EMERGENCY ADDITION TO AGENDA

In an emergency or when there is an urgent public necessity, the notice of a meeting to deliberate or take action on the emergency or urgent public necessity, or the supplemental notice to add the deliberation or taking of action on the emergency or urgent public necessity as an item to the agenda for a meeting for which notice has been posted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act, is sufficient if the notice or supplemental notice is posted at least one hour before the meeting is convened.

A board may not deliberate or take action on a matter at a meeting for which notice or supplemental notice is posted as described above other than:

  1. A matter directly related to responding to the emergency or urgent public necessity identified in the notice or supplemental notice of the meeting; or
  2. An agenda item listed on a notice of the meeting before the supplemental notice was posted.

An emergency or urgent public necessity exists only if immediate action is required because of:

  1. An imminent threat to public health and safety, including a threat described in item 2, below, if imminent; or
  2. A reasonably unforeseeable situation, including:
    1. Fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or wind, rain, or snow storm;
    2. Power failure, transportation failure, or interruption of communication facilities;
    3. Epidemic; or
    4. Riot, civil disturbance, enemy attack, or other actual or threatened act of lawlessness or violence.

The Board shall clearly identify the emergency or urgent public necessity in the notice of an emergency meeting or supplemental notice.

Gov't Code 551.045

Catastrophe

If, because of a catastrophe, the Board is prevented from convening an open meeting that was otherwise properly posted under Gov’t. Code Section 551.041, the Board may convene the meeting in a convenient location within 72 hours pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 551.045 if the action is taken in good faith and not to circumvent Gov’t. Code Chapter 551.  If the board is unable to convene the open meeting within those 72 hours, the board may subsequently convene the meeting only if the board gives the required written notice of the meeting.

"Catastrophe" means a condition or occurrence that interferes physically with the ability of the Board to conduct a meeting, including:

  1. Fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or wind, rain, or snow storm;
  2. Power failure, transportation failure, or interruption of communication facilities;
  3. Epidemic; or
  4. Riot, civil disturbance, enemy attack, or other actual or threatened act of lawlessness or violence.

Gov't Code 5541.0411(b), (c)

SPECIAL NOTICE TO NEWS MEDIA

The School shall provide special notice of each meeting by telephone, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail to any news media that has requested special notice and agreed to reimburse the School for the cost of providing the special notice.  Gov't Code 551.047,.052

The board president or board member who calls an emergency meeting or adds an emergency item to the agenda of a board meeting shall notify the news media of the emergency meeting or emergency item. The president or member is required to notify only those members of the news media that have previously filed a request containing all pertinent information for the special notice and agreed to reimburse the board for the cost of providing the special notice. The president or member shall give the notice by telephone, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail at least one hour before the meeting is convened. Gov’t Code 551.047

QUORUM

Five members of the School's nine-member Board shall constitute a quorum (regardless of the number of vacancies on the Board at a given time).  Gov't Code 551.001(6); 311.013(b)

DISASTER

Notwithstanding any other law, a quorum is not required for the Board to act if:

  1. The School’s jurisdiction is wholly or partly located in the area of a disaster declared by the president of the United State or the governor; and
  2. A majority of the members of the Board are unable to be present at a board meeting as a result of the disaster.

Gov’t Code 418.1102

SECRET BALLOT

No vote shall be taken by secret ballot.  Atty. Gen. Op. H-1163 (1978)

MEETING BY VIDEOCONFERENCE CALL

A Board member or TSBVI employee may participate remotely in a board meeting by means of a videoconference call if the video and audio feed of the board member’s or employee’s participation, as applicable, is broadcast live at the meeting and complies with the provisions below.  A board member who participates by videoconference call shall be counted as present at the meeting for all purposes. A board member who participates by videoconference call shall be counted as present at the meeting for all purposes. A board member who participates in a meeting by video conference call shall be considered absent from any portion of the meeting during which audio or video communication with the member is lost or disconnected. The board may continue the meeting only if a quorum remains present at the meeting location or, if applicable, continues to participate in a meeting conducted as specified at below.  Gov’t Code 551.001(8), .127(a-1)-(a-3)

A meeting of the board may be held by videoconference call only if a quorum of the Board is physically present at one location, or:

  1. The board member presiding over the meeting is physically present at one location of the meeting that is open to the public during the open portions of the meeting; and
  2. The board makes available to the public at least one suitable physical space located in the School’s geographic jurisdiction that is equipped with videoconference equipment that provides a two-way audio and video display, as well as a camera and microphone by which a member of the public can provide testimony or otherwise actively observe and hear the entire meeting.

The location where the presiding officer is physically present shall be open to the public during the open portions of the meeting.

Gov’t Code 551.001(8), .127(c)

Notice

A meeting held by videoconference call is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings in addition to the notice requirements applicable to meetings by videoconference call.

The notice of a meeting to be held by videoconference call must specify as a location of the meeting the location where a quorum of the Board will be physically present and specify the intent to have  a quorum of the board will be physically present and specify the intent to have a quorum present at that location; the notice of a meeting held by videoconference call described above must specify as a location of the meeting the location where the board member presiding over the meeting will be physically present and specify the intent to have that member present at that location.

Gov’t Code 551.127(b)–(e)

Quality of Audio and Video Signals

Each portion of a meeting held by videoconference call that is required to be open to the public shall be visible and audible to the public at the location specified in the notice. If a problem occurs

that causes a meeting to no longer be visible and audible to the public at that location, the meeting must be recessed until the problem is resolved. If the problem is not resolved in six hours or less, the meeting must be adjourned.

The location specified in the notice, and each remote location from which a member of the board participates, shall have two-way audio and video communication with each other location during the entire meeting. The face of each participant in the videoconference call, while that participant is speaking, shall be clearly visible, and the voice audible, to each other participant and, during the open portion of the meeting, to the members of the public in attendance at the physical location described by the notice and at any other location of the meeting that is open to the public. 

The quality of the audio and video signals perceptible at each location of the meeting must meet or exceed standards specified by the Department of Information Resources.  The audio and video signals perceptible by members of the public at the location of the meeting described by the notice and at each remote location from which a member participates must be of sufficient quality so that members of the public at each location of the meeting can observe the demeanor and hear the voice of each participant in the open portion of the meeting.

Gov’t Code 551.127(f), (h)–(j); 1 TAC 209.10–.11

Recording

The Board shall make at least an audio recording of the meeting.  The recording shall be made available to the public.

Remote Participation by the Public

The Board may allow a member of the public to testify at a meeting from a remote location by videoconference call even if a Board member is not participating in a meeting from a remote location.

Gov't Code 551.127(g), (k);

INTERNET BROADCAST

The Board may broadcast an open meeting over the Internet.  If the Board broadcasts a meeting over the Internet, it shall establish an Internet site and provide access to the broadcast from that site.  The Board shall provide on the Internet site the same notice of the meeting, within the time required for posting that notice, that the Board is requested to post under the Open Meetings Act.  Gov’t Code 551.128(b), (c)

ATTORNEY CONSULTATION

The Board may use a telephone conference call, videoconference call, or communications over the Internet to conduct a public consultation with its attorney in an open meeting of the Board or a private consultation with its attorney in a closed meeting of the Board. [See BEC]

Each part of a public consultation by the Board with its attorney in an open meeting must be audible to the public at the location specified in the notice of the meeting as the location of the meeting.

EXCEPTION

This does not apply to a consultation with an attorney who is an employee of a district.  An attorney who receives compensation for legal services performed, from which employment taxes are deducted by a district, is an employee of a district.

Gov't Code 551.129

HEARING IMPAIRED PERSONS

In a proceeding before the Board in which the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party are to be determined by the Board after an adjudicative hearing, the Board shall supply for a party who is deaf or hearing impaired an interpreter who has qualifications approved by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.

For purposes of this requirement, "deaf or hearing impaired" means having a hearing impairment, regardless of the existence of a speech impairment, that inhibits comprehension of a proceeding or inhibits communication with others.

Gov't Code 558.001, 558.003

Prohibited Series of Communications

A board member commits an offense if the member:

  1. Knowingly engages in at least one communication among a series of communications that each occur outside of a meeting authorized by the Open Meetings Act and that concern an issue within the jurisdiction of the board in which the members engaging in the individual communications constitute fewer than a quorum of members but the members engaging in the series of communications constitute a quorum of members; and
  2. Knew at the time the member engaged in the communication that the series of communications:
    1. Involved or would involve a quorum; and
    2. Would constitute a deliberation once a quorum of members engaged in the series of communications.

Gov’t Code 551.143

Adopted:                     3/7/80

Amended:                   9/10/82, 10/25/85, 11/12/87, 3/26/93, 3/25/94, 11/18/94, 11/15/96, 11/6/98, 1/24/02, 1/31/03, 3/26/04, 1/28/05, 1/26/07, 11/20/09, 9/29/17, 4/6/18, 1/31/20

Reviewed:                  

SCHOOL HEALTH ADVISORY COUNCIL

The Board shall establish a local school health advisory council (SHAC) to assist the School in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the School's health education instruction.  Education Code 28.004(a)  [See EHAA regarding duties of the SHAC]

The SHAC shall meet at least four times each year.  Education Code 28.004(d-1)

Composition

The Board shall appoint at least five members to the SHAC.  A majority of the members must be parents of students enrolled in the School and must not be employed by the School.  One of these members shall serve as chair or co-chair of the SHAC.

The Board may also appoint one or more teachers, administrators, students, health-care professionals, members of the business community, law enforcement representatives, senior citizens, clergy, representatives of nonprofit health organizations, representatives of local domestic violence programs, or representatives of another group.

Education Code 28.004

Physical Activity and Fitness Planning Subcommittee

The SHAC shall establish a physical activity and fitness planning subcommittee to consider issues relating to student physical activity and fitness and make policy recommendations to increase physical activity and improve fitness among students.  Education Code 28.004(l-1)

Annual Report

In addition to its other duties, the SHAC shall submit to the board, at least annually, a written report that includes:

  1. Any SHAC recommendation concerning the School’s health education curriculum and instruction or related matters that the SHAC has not previously submitted to the Board;
  2. Any suggested modifications to a SHAC recommendation previously submitted to the Board; and
  3. A detailed explanation of the SHAC’s activities during the period between the date of the current report and the date of the last prior written report.

Education Code 28.004(m)

Changes in Curriculum

The School must consider the recommendations of the SHAC before changing the School’s health education curriculum or instruction.  Education Code 28.004(b)

STATEMENT FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION

The School shall publish in the Parent and Student Handbook and post on the School’s website a statement of:

  1. Board policies adopted to ensure that elementary school, middle school, and junior high school students engage in at least the amount of physical activity required by Education Code 28.002(l) [see EHAB and EHAC];
  2. The number of times during the preceding year the SHAC has met;
  3. Whether the School has adopted and enforces policies to ensure compliance with TEA’s vending machine and food service guidelines for restricting student access to vending machines;
  4. Whether the School has adopted and enforces policies and procedures that prescribe penalties for the use of e-cigarettes, as defined at Education Code 38.006, and tobacco products by students and others on school campuses or at school-sponsored or school-related activities. [see DH and GKA]; and
  5. Notice to parents that they can request in writing their child’s physical fitness assessment results at the end of the school year [see FFAA].

Education Code 28.004(k)

Adopted:          1/28/05

Amended:        4/1/05, 9/22/06, 11/17/17

Reviewed:

 

DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this policy:

1. "Professional Services" means services within the scope of the practice, as defined by state law, of: accounting; architecture; landscape architecture; land surveying; medicine; optometry; real estate appraising; professional engineering; or professional nursing; or provided in connection with the professional employment or practice of a person who is licensed or registered as: a certified public accountant; an architect; a landscape architect; a land surveyor; a physician, including a surgeon; an optometrist; a professional engineer; a state certified or state licensed real estate appraiser; or a registered nurse.

Gov't Code 2254.002

2. "Consulting Services" means the service of studying or advising a state agency under a contract that does not involve the traditional relationship of employer and employee.

Gov't Code 2254.021(1)

3. "Major Consulting Service" means a consulting services contract for which it is reasonably foreseeable that the value of the contract will exceed $15,000.00.

Gov't Code 2254.021(2)

4. "Other Services" means the furnishing of skilled or unskilled labor or professional work but does not include "professional services" or "consulting services".

Gov't Code 2155.001(2)

APPROVAL FOR AND INFORMATION ABOUT PROFESSIONAL, CONSULTING, AND MAJOR CONSULTING SERVICES

The Board shall approve all professional services and consulting services contracts when the contract cost exceeds $10,000.

In the judgment of the Superintendent, if a consulting or professional services contract that exceeds $10,000 is needed prior to the next regularly scheduled Board meeting when the Board would otherwise approve the contract, the Board delegates to the Superintendent authority to enter into a contract. In those instances where time constraints do not allow prior approval, the Superintendent will present information about the contract to the Board at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the Board.

Information concerning all contracts for greater than $600 but equal to or less than $10,000shall be provided to the Board without the requirement of Board approval.

APPROVAL FOR AND INFORMATION ABOUT OTHER SERVICES CONTRACTS

The Superintendent or designee shall approve all contracts for other services and shall present to the Board any information about these contracts that the Board so requests.

CONTRACTING FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

The Superintendent may not select a provider of professional services or a group or association of providers or award a contract for the services on the basis of competitive bids submitted for the contract or for the services, but shall make the selection and award:

1. on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications to perform the services and

2. for a fair and reasonable price.

The professional fees under the contract:

1. must be consistent with and not higher than the recommended practices and fees published by the applicable professional associations; and

2. may not exceed any maximum provided by law.

Gov't Code 2254.003

CONTRACTING FOR CONSULTING SERVICES

The School may contract with a consultant only if there is a substantial need for the consulting services; and the School cannot adequately perform the services with its own personnel or obtain the consulting services through a contract with another state agency.

Gov't Code 2254.026

In selecting a consultant, the Superintendent shall base the choice on demonstrated competence, knowledge, and qualifications and reasonableness of the proposed fee for the services; and if other considerations are equal, give preference to a consultant whose principal place of business is in the state or who will manage the consulting contract from an office in the state.

Gov't Code 2254.027

The School shall comply with the provisions of Texas Government Code, Chapter 2254 in procuring consulting services.

CONTRACTING FOR MAJOR CONSULTING SERVICES

Before entering into a major consulting services contract, the School shall notify the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning that the School intends to contract with a consultant; give information to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning to demonstrate that the School has complied or will comply with Gov't Code 2254.026 and 2254.027; and obtain a finding of fact from the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning that consulting services are necessary.

Gov't Code 2254.028

CONTRACTING FOR OTHER SERVICES

The School shall comply with the provisions of Government Code Chapter 2155 in procuring other services.

Adopted: 6/9/78
Amended: 7/13/79, 11/9/79, 3/7/80, 9/11/81, 1/14/83, 7/17/87, 1/29/93, 11/14/97, 11/22/02
Reviewed:

The Board may from time to time as it deems necessary create committees to facilitate the efficient operation of the Board. 

A committee that includes one or more Board members and has supervision or control over public business or public policy is subject to the Open Meetings Act when it meets to discuss public business or policy.

A committee that includes less than a quorum of Board members is not subject to the Open Meetings Act if it serves a purely advisory function, with no power to supervise or control public business.  However, should the committee actually function as something more than a merely advisory board with the result that it in fact supervises or controls public business or policy, it must comply with the Open Meetings Act to avoid depriving the public of access to the Board’s actual decision-making process.

See Education Code 11.061(c)(3); 30.022(d); Atty. Gen. Op. No. JM-1072 (1989) H-3 (1973); see also Atty. Gen. Op. LO-97-058 (1997).

A majority of the Board must approve the creation of a committee.

The President shall appoint and remove members to committees created by the Board, including a committee chairperson and vice-chairperson. 

STANDING COMMITTEES

The Board shall have standing committees for:

  1. Audit, Compliance, and Management Review
  2. Finance
  3. Programs and
  4. Personnel

Adopted:         1/16/90

Amended:       5/29/87, 9/15/88, 11/17/89, 11/22/91, 5/23/97, 9/26/97, 11/14/97, 1/24/02, 6/2/10, 11/21/14, 4/5/19

Reviewed:       11/13/92, 1/31/14

 

The board secretary may or may not be a Board member selected by the Board, and is charged with the following duties:

  1. Reviewing the minutes of board meetings from the Recording Secretary.
  2. Signing the minutes, verifying that the minutes are a true and accurate summary of the discussion and actions taken by the Board.

DUTIES AND REQUIREMENTS OF RECORDING SECRETARY 

The recording secretary shall be selected by the Superintendent.  The Recording Secretary is charged with:

  1. Taking, recording and maintaining minutes of all meetings,
  2. Providing Board meeting agendas and related materials to Board members in advance of scheduled Board meetings, 
  3. Preparing and posting notices of all proposed meetings, and
  4. Handling necessary correspondence with Board members.

In the absence of the designated recording secretary, an alternate staff secretary shall be selected by the Superintendent.

Adopted:          3/7/80
Amended:         11/13/92, 1/31/14
Reviewed:       11/14/97, 1/24/02

The vice-president of the Board shall act in the capacity and perform the duties of the president in the event of the absence, resignation, or incapacity of the president and perform other such duties as the Board may, from time to time, prescribe.

Adopted: 3/7/80
Amended: 11/13/92
Reviewed: 5/23/97, 1/24/02, 1/31/14