Board of Education Meetings
Click here for the Meeting Procedure Guidelines
As one of its goals, the Board of Education continually strives to communicate openly and directly with the public and to provide easy and efficient access to District information. In its continued efforts to meet these goals and to educate the public regarding the Open Meetings Law (“OML”), the District has developed this new webpage. While assisting with the preparation of the webpage, the District’s counsel has recommended several updates to District policies relating to its meetings. Although current District practices comply with the OML, because many of the policies were adopted or last amended many years ago, the changes serve to update the policy book and ensure compliance with current practices and law.
Regularly Scheduled Meetings:
Regularly scheduled meetings generally are held once a month on a Thursday night at the Hubbs Administration Center on Clay Pitts Road. The public portion of regularly scheduled meetings typically begins at 8:00 p.m. The schedule for the upcoming school year is set at the Organizational Meeting in July. For a complete list of the dates, times and locations of scheduled meetings, please use the following link: Board of Education Meeting Dates. The public will be made aware of any additions or changes to the meeting schedule by postings at all District schools and on the District’s website. The District Clerk also gives notice of all meetings to the news media and the PTAs. To receive e-mail notification of meeting dates and times as well as other District-related information, please sign up for E-News at https://target.brightarrow.com/portallogin.aspx?PortalKey=E8EF9838-2A58.
When District business needs to be conducted prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting or a topic requires more time for discussion than would be given to it at a regularly scheduled meeting, the Board will schedule a special meeting. The public will be made aware of special meetings by postings at all District schools and on the District’s website. The District Clerk will also give notice of special meetings to the news media and the PTAs.
To receive e-mail notification of special meetings, please sign up for E-News at https://target.brightarrow.com/portallogin.aspx?PortalKey=E8EF9838-2A58
The Board often conducts executive sessions during a regularly scheduled or special meeting. Rather than interrupt the public portion of meetings for executive sessions, the Board typically entertains a motion to adjourn into executive session at the beginning of a meeting (typically at 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.). On these occasions, the public notice will note that at the commencement of the meeting, the Board plans to entertain a motion to adjourn into Executive Session, and that the Board intends to reconvene in public session at approximately 8:00 p.m. Although members of the public cannot attend executive session unless individually invited by the Board, the public may be present during the making of a motion for adjournment into Executive session.
Agendas are posted on the website prior to each meeting. Printed copies are also made available at each meeting.
The District Clerk takes minutes at every meeting. The minutes are available to the public pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law and are posted on the District’s website.
Time is allotted at all regularly scheduled meetings for the public to address the Board.
Q: What, if any, laws apply to the scheduling and holding of meetings?
A: The Open Meetings Law (Article 7 of the New York Public Officers Law) (the “OML”) applies to Board of Education meetings. The specific laws as well as advisory opinions and other information can be found at the Committee on Open Government Website, http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/index.html
Q: How do I know when and where a meeting is going to be held?
A: Regularly scheduled meetings are generally held once a month on a Thursday night at the Hubbs Administration Center on Clay Pitts Road. The date, time, and location of all regularly scheduled meetings appear in the printed version of the District Calendar and are posted on the District’s website and at all District schools. The following link will bring you to the current schedule for specific dates, times, and locations: Board of Education Meeting Dates. The public will be made aware of all additionally scheduled meetings and any changes to the meeting schedule by notice posted on the District’s website and at all District Schools.
The District Clerk also gives notice of all meetings to the news media and the PTAs.
To receive e-mail notification of meeting dates and times as well as other District-related information, please sign up for E-News at https://target.brightarrow.com/portallogin.aspx?PortalKey=E8EF9838-2A58.
Q: What is an “executive session”?
A: An executive session is a portion of a meeting when the Board is legally allowed to exclude members of the public. The OML details the reasons a Board is allowed to enter executive session. These are specifically enumerated by the OML to include the following:
§ Subjects which would jeopardize public safety if disclosed to the public;
§ Any issue that might disclose the identity of a law enforcement agent or informer;
§ Information relating to current or future investigations or prosecution of a criminal offense that would imperil effective law enforcement if disclosed;
§ Discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation;
§ Discussions regarding collective labor negotiations;
§ Discussions regarding the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation;
§ The preparation, grading or administration of examinations; and
§ The proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by the public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value of the property at issue.
Additionally, discussions involving an issue deemed confidential by a specific state or federal statute may be conducted in executive session. Issues which have been deemed confidential by statute include, but are not limited to:
§ Communications through which the Board obtains legal advice from its attorney;
§ Public health issues specifically deemed confidential by public health statutes; and
§ Education records of a particular student pursuant to the Family Education Rights & Privacy Act.
Q: How do I know when the Board is in or will be in Executive Session?
A: The OML requires that the Board passes a motion which identifies the subjects to be considered in executive session.
Rather than interrupt the public portion of meetings for executive sessions, the Board typically entertains a motion to adjourn into executive session at the beginning of a meeting (typically at 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.). The public notice typically will note that at the commencement of the meeting, the Board plans to entertain a motion to adjourn into Executive Session and that the Board intends to reconvene in public session at approximately 8:00 p.m.
Q: Can the Board take action in executive session?
A: No formal action can be taken in executive session, except if legally required by law. For example, the preferring of charges pursuant to Education Law 3020-a (disciplinary charges against a tenured employee) must be voted on during an executive session. Minutes are taken when a formal vote takes place during an executive session. The minutes made available to the public will not include any information that is deemed confidential pursuant to statute.
With the exception of the preferring of charges pursuant to 3020-a, the Commack Board never takes any action in Executive Session.
Q: Can I attend an Executive Session?
A: An executive session only can be attended by members of the Board and any other person(s) invited by the Board. Generally, the Board authorizes the Superintendent and administrators designated by the Superintendent to attend executive sessions. Other frequent invitees are the District’s attorneys.
Q: Where can I obtain a copy of a meeting agenda or meeting minutes?
A: Copies of a meeting agenda are posted on the website prior to the meeting and are made available in the meeting room. The minutes are available to the public pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law and are posted on the District’s website.
Q: May I speak at a meeting?
A: Yes. Time is allotted at all regularly scheduled meetings for the public to address the Board.
Q: May I video or audio tape a meeting?
A: Yes, as long as the recording device does not disrupt the meeting. As a courtesy to the Board and other attendees, the Board requests that an individual notify the Board prior to the meeting that the individual plans to photograph, record, or broadcast.