If a school board member has a question about a board agenda item, should he pick up the phone and call a fellow board member to discuss the matter? Seems harmless, right? Actually, this is a misdemeanor under Arkansas law.
Board members need to be clear on the law related to communication among board members to avoid violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The FOIA provides guidance on public meetings and access to public records. School boards and superintendents should be familiar with the requirements of the FOIA and conduct meetings in accordance with its requirements. Additionally, public requests for information should be handled in accordance with the FOIA.
The 15th edition of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook, published in 2012 in collaboration with the Arkansas Governor’s Office, Attorney General and numerous professional associations, is linked here for handy reference.