New Board Member Elections Offer Opportunity for Brown Act Refreshers
Practical Pointers from the F3 Client Services Group
Following November elections, boards of trustees in public school and community college districts typically reorganize their boards, adding newly elected members to their governance team and reassigning positions on the board, including president, vice president and clerk. Like all government officials, these new trustees should be educated about the Brown Act.
The Ralph M. Brown Act is found in Government Code sections 54950 through 54963. The Brown Act is the set of laws that governs the process and procedures for elected boards to conduct their meetings. The Brown Act also sets forth, in essence, a code of conduct for elected board members.
As this is likely an entirely new set of rules for your incoming board members, Districts with a new governance team should consider participating in a Brown Act workshop or refresher course including the implications of social media and Board members’ use of email.
There are numerous options available to boards of trustees that seek training in the Brown Act, including workshops and webinars offered by the California School Boards Association (CSBA), and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).
- Consider conducting a Brown Act refresher course at the Board reorganization meeting. This will allow the Board to educate members of the public in attendance at the meeting, including parents, teachers, administration and the media.
- Hold a study session and invite key constituents. This approach will allow the governance team to have a more in depth examination and conversation about the Brown Act.
- Register Board members and key constituents for a Brown Act webinar or workshop. This will allow the Board members and attendees to be educated in proper meeting conduct, as well as offer the possibility to ask questions of the presenters.
- CSBA is holding a new trustee workshop at its Annual Education Conference and Trade Show on November 29 – December 1, 2012. Registration information can be found at: http://aec.csba.org/
- Several Brown Act training events are being sponsored by CSBA throughout California in the months of January, February and March, 2013. Information about these events can be found here: http://csba.org/en/~/link.aspx?_id=8D9317DEDE7245B1BC860BEC17F7DA35&_z=z
- An ACSA webinar on the Brown Act that includes cyber space issues can be found at: http://www.acsa.org/MainMenuCategories/ProfessionalLearning/OnlineTrainings/E-ducation-Series/Brown-Act.aspx
- A Brown Act tip sheet can be found at the F3 website: www.fagenfriedman.com/resources
- The Attorney General’s office has published a pamphlet with helpful information about complying with the requirements of the Brown Act. Although published in 2003, this pamphlet still provides a quick and basic overview of the law. This publication can be found at: www.ag.ca.gov/publications/2003_Intro_BrownAct.pdf
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call one of our six offices.
Prepared by Melanie A. Petersen and Lynn Murphy.
Melanie is a partner in the firm’s San Marcos Office and
Lynn Murphy is a member of F3’s Client Services Group.
F3’s Client Services Group is a bank of education professionals who complement the firm’s legal services with practical advice and support across governance, leadership and administrative issues.
This F3 NewsFlash is a summary only and not legal advice. We recommend that you consult with legal counsel to determine how this legal development may apply to your specific facts and circumstances. Information on a free NewsFlash subscription can be found at www.fagenfriedman.com.
As part of the E-ducation™ Professional Development Series hosted by ACSA and F3, we offer webinars on various topics. You can find the information on the ACSA website at www.acsa.org/e-ducation.
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