MCCSC closed-door meeting would be contrary to Open Door Law

The Monroe County Community School Corp. board plans to hold a closed-door meeting next Tuesday to discuss the next steps for hiring a superintendent, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times.

That would almost certainly be against the law. There is no provision in the Indiana Open Door Law that allows secret executive sessions to discuss how to conduct a superintendent search.

The public notice for the executive session says the board will meet to “receive information about prospective employees,” i.e., candidates to take the place of Superintendent J.T. Coopman, who is retiring at the end of the year. If that’s all the board does, it would be OK to meet in secret.

But MCCSC board member Valerie Merriam told the H-T that the board intends “to decide what kind of committee to go with this time, whether that involves lots of community members or we go with a professional search (firm) … I think all those things will be hammered out next Tuesday.”

Steve Key, executive director and general counsel with the Hoosier State Press Association, who knows the Open Door Law as well as anyone, told School Matters that he can’t think of an exception that would allow discussing the process of a superintendent search in a closed-door meeting.

Could the school board close the meeting if, along with other business, it might receive information about superintendent candidates? No, it can’t. Continue reading