As we reported in June of this year, the Nauvoo-Colusa School Board had not conducted a meeting on May 15, 2017 in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. A number of violations were observed, and reported to the Attorney General’s Office. Considering the failure of the School Board to reschedule the meeting, even after they had been informed that the public had not been properly notified of what would be discussed at the meeting, it’s no surprise that recent communications received from the School Board (see below) confirm that members of the School Board had not completed the required certification training.

With two exceptions, Michelle Snyder (who had previously completed the training), and Trischa Kyle (who is new to the Board, and still within the legal time-frame for completing the training), every other member of the Board did not complete it until late June-July, 2017, a month after the Attorney General’s Office agreed that there was justification for an investigation. It is interesting that the response provided by the Board’s attorney states that some members had participated in other classes and “that they mistakenly thought these trainings covered their OMA certification.” This is in spite of the requirement that they provide a certificate of that training, to verify it had been completed (which these other classes had not satisfied).

This may explain why other issues have been noted in School Board meetings:

  • Individuals not on the School Board are allowed to participate in the meeting as a de-facto member; answering questions, participating in discussions, participating in closed sessions without specific invitation or explanation of the need for their presence.
  • Conversations between this same individual and the Board President are not audible to the members of the public, as required by the Open Meetings Act.  The School Superintendent, Kent Young, is not a member of the School Board, and should be afforded the same opportunities to speak as any other member of the public, from the audience.
  • If an individual wishes to have an item placed on the agenda, it does not legally require the approval, or even any input from the School Superintendent (we have several reports of this practice).  As we reported in our June 2, 2017 article, when the School Board President, Michael Siegfried, was informed of the violation prior to the meeting, he notified us that he would have to speak to the School Superintendent about it, we reminded him that as the Board President, it was his decision to make, he replied, “I know, but that’s how it works,” everything is run past the School Superintendent. And, at the meeting when we reminded the Board that the meeting was in violation, it was the Superintendent that defended the action.

We expect the Board’s performance, and responsiveness to the public, would greatly benefit by full compliance with the Open Meetings Act, and the newly gained information presented in the training they received in June and July.  The Attorney General’s investigation continues in this matter.

 

Training Dates Provided By Nauvoo-Colusa School Board

Board Member Start Date OMA Training Date
Michael Siegfried 4/1/11 6/27/17
Sandy Stevenson 4/1/13 7/12/17
Tonya Little 4/1/13 7/12/17
Trischa Kyle 5/15/17 7/7/17
Tina Poe 4/1/13 7/12/17
Brent Schmitz 8/24/16 7/7/17
Michele Snyder 4/1/15 11/18/11; 5/8/15

 

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