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Generally,  board meetings  shall be open meetings,  unless a closed session  or exempt  meeting  is provided  for by law.  The board shall hold a closed session or exempt meeting  in the situations  stated below.

Exceptions  to the Open Meetings  Law

Closed sessions  take place as part of an open meeting.   The item for discussion  in the closed session shall be listed as part of the tentative  agenda  on the public notice.  The motion for a closed session, stating the purpose  for the closed session,  shall be made and seconded  during the open meeting.   A minimum  of two-thirds  of the board, or all of the board members  present,  if less than five,  must vote in favor of the motion on a roll call vote.  Closed  sessions  shall be tape recorded  and have detailed  minutes kept by the board secretary.   Final action on matters  discussed  in the closed session  shall be taken in an open meeting.

The minutes  and the tape recording  will restate  the motion made in the open meeting,  the roll call vote, the members  present,  and the time the closed session  began and ended.   The tape recordings  and the written minutes  shall be kept for one year from the date of the meeting.   Real estate related  minutes  and tapes will be made public after the real estate transaction  is completed.

The detailed  minutes  and tape recording  shall be sealed and shall not be public records  open to public inspection.   The minutes  and tape recording  shall only be opened  upon court order in an action to enforce the requirements  of the open meetings  law.  The board has complete  discretion  as to whom may be present  at a closed session.

Reasons  for the board entering  into a closed session  from an open meeting  include,  but are not limited to, the following:

  1. To review or discuss records  which are required  or authorized  by state or federal law to be kept confidential  or to be kept confidential  as a condition  for the board's possession  or receipt of federal funds.
  2. To discuss  strategy  with legal counsel  in matters presently  in litigation,  or where litigation  is imminent,  if disclosure  would be likely to prejudice  or disadvantage  the board.
  3. To discuss  whether  to conduct  a hearing  for suspension  or expulsion  of a student,  unless an open meeting  is requested  by the student or the parent of the student.
  4. To evaluate  the professional  competency  of an individual  whose appointment,  hiring, performance,  or discharge  is being considered  when a closed session is necessary  to prevent needless  and irreparable  injury to that individual's  reputation  and that individual requests  a closed session.
  5. To discuss  the purchase  of particular  real estate, but only when premature  disclosure  could be reasonably  expected  to increase  the price the board would have to pay for the property.

Board meetings  at which a quorum  is not present,  or gatherings  of the board for purely ministerial  or social purposes  when there is no discussion  of policy or no intent to avoid the purposes  of the open meetings law, are exempt from the open meetings  law requirements.   Since gatherings  of this type are exempt  from the open meetings  requirements,  they can be held without public notice, be separate  from an open meeting,  be held without taping the gathering  or taking minutes,  and be held without a vote or motion.   The board may also hold an exempt session  for the following:

  1. negotiating  sessions,  strategy  meetings  of public employers  or employee  organizations, mediation  and the deliberative  process  of arbitration;
  2. to discuss strategy  in matters relating  to employment  conditions  of employees  not covered by the collective  bargaining  law;
  3. to conduct  a private  hearing  relating  to the recommended  termination  of a teacher's contract.  However, the private hearing in the teacher's contract termination  shall be recorded  verbatim  by a court reporter;  and
  4. to conduct a private hearing  relating  to the termination  of a probationary  administrator's contract  or to review the proposed  decision  of the administrative  law judge regarding  the termination  of an administrator's  contract.


Legal Reference:           

     Iowa Code ßß 20.17; 21; 22.7; 279.15,  .16, .24 (1995).

     1982 Op. Att'y Gen. 162.

     1980 Op. Att'y Gen. 167.

     1976 Op. Att'y Gen. 384, 514, 765.

     1972 Op. Att'y Gen. 158.

     1970 Op. Att'y Gen. 287.


Cross Reference:           

     208  Ad Hoc Committees

     211  Open Meetings


Approved:  10/14/96                                       Reviewed:  9/18/2017                                                   Revised: