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The board may act only by majority vote of the members present at a meeting held in compliance with Chapter 551, Government 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 exchange during a meeting among a quorum of a board, or between a quorum of a board and another person, concerning any issue within the jurisdiction of the board or any public business.

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

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

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 551.056

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 or the supplemental notice of a subject added to an agenda posted in accordance with law is sufficient if it is posted at least two hours before the meeting is convened.

An emergency or urgent public necessity exists only if immediate action is required because of an imminent threat to public health and safety or a reasonably unforeseeable situation.  The Board shall clearly identify the emergency or urgent public necessity for each item in the notice of an emergency meeting and each item added in a 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 it and agreed to reimburse the School for the cost of providing the special notice.  When an emergency meeting is called or an emergency item added to an agenda, the Board President shall notify by telephone, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail any news media who have previously requested special notice of all meetings.  Gov't Code 551.047,.052

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 district’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 TELEPHONE CONFERENCE CALL

The Board may hold a meeting by telephone conference call if an emergency or public necessity exists within the meaning of Gov’t. Code 551.045 and the convening at one location of a quorum of the Board is difficult or impossible, or if the meeting is held by an advisory board.

Each part of the telephone conference call meeting that is required to be open shall be audible to the public at the location specified in the notice of the meeting.   The location designated in the notice as the location of the meeting shall provide two-way communication during the entire telephone conference call meeting and the telephone conference shall be clearly stated prior to speaking.

Notice

The telephone conference call meeting is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings.  The notice must specify as the location of the meeting, the location where meetings of the governmental body are usually held.

Recording

The conference call meeting shall be tape-recorded and made available to the public. 

Gov't Code 551.125

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(7), .127  

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; 1 TAC 209.10-.11

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

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
Reviewed: