204 - Meetings of the Board




204.1 - Meetings of the School Board




The regular meeting time and dates will be set by the board at the organizational meeting in odd-numbered years or at the annual meeting in even-numbered years.

Board meetings are normally scheduled for the second and fourth Mondays of the month, when the school calendar allows. The board will adhere to the established meeting dates unless the additional meetings are required or, due to circumstances beyond the board’s control, the meetings cannot be held on the regular meeting dates and the meetings will then be rescheduled in accordance with law and policy. Work sessions will begin promptly at 5:00 PM followed by the regular meetings at 7:00 PM. Public notice of the meetings will be given, and board meeting dates will be posted on the district website upon board approval.

Meetings of the board are conducted for the purpose of carrying out the business of the school district. Only board members have the authority to make and second motions and vote on issues before the board. The board may establish rules for its own governance and determine the procedures that will be followed during board meetings. Meetings may be closed to the public to allow the board to discuss a specific topic as defined by law (Policy 204.3 – Closed Sessions).

Public notice will be given for meetings and work sessions held by the board. Public notice will indicate the time, place, date, and tentative agenda of board meetings. The official public notice will be posted on public display at the Learning Resource Center (2999 N 10th St, Marion) at least three days before it is scheduled but, at the minimum, 24-hour notice needs to be given. A copy of the public notice, either electronic or print, will be provided to those who have filed a request for notice with the board secretary. A copy of the public notice will also be accessible electronically.

In the case of special meetings, public notice will be given in the same manner as for a regular meeting unless it is an emergency meeting. In that case, public notice of the meeting will be given as soon as practical and possible in light of the situation. The media and others who have requested notice will be notified of the emergency meeting electronically. Attendance at a special meeting or emergency meeting by the media or board members will constitute a waiver of notice.

It is the responsibility of the board secretary [or designee] to give public notice of board meetings and work sessions. The district’s website is used to inform the public of future meetings and agendas.

Adopted: 9/85
Reviewed: 10/11; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 4/13; 8/14; 3/17
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21.2-4: 279.1-2; 1952 Op Atty Gen 133;
Dobrovolny v Reinhardt, 173 NW 2d 837 (Iowa 1970)
IASB Reference: 210.5

204.2 - Special Meetings of the School Board




It may be necessary for the board to conduct a special meeting in addition to the regularly scheduled board meeting. Special meetings may be requested by the president of the board, the superintendent, or by the board secretary at the request of a majority of the board. Should a special meeting be called, public notice will be given.

If the special meeting called is an emergency meeting and the board cannot give public notice in its usual manner, the board will give public notice of the meeting as soon as practical and possible in light of the situation. The reason for the emergency meeting and why notice in its usual manner could not be given will be stated in the minutes.

Only the purpose or issue for which the special meeting was called may be discussed and decided in the special meeting. The board will strictly adhere to the agenda for the special meeting and action on other issues will be reserved for the next regular or special board meeting.

Adopted: 6/70
Reviewed: 10/11; 8/14; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 4/13
Legal Reference (Codes of Iowa): §§ 21.3-4; 279.2 (2013); 1980 Op Atty Gen 148
IASB Reference: 210.3

204.3 - Closed Sessions of the School Board




Generally, board meetings shall be open meetings unless a closed session or exempt meeting is provided for by law. The board will 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, will be made and seconded during the open meeting. A minimum of two-thirds of the board, or all of the board members present, must vote in favor of the motion on a roll call vote. Closed sessions will be electronically recorded and have detailed minutes kept by the board secretary or court reporter. Final action on matters discussed in the closed session shall be taken in an open meeting.

The minutes and the electronic 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 electronic recording and written minutes shall be kept for one year from the date of the meeting. Real estate related minutes and recordings will be made public after the real estate transaction is completed.

The detailed minutes and electronic recording will be sealed and will not be public record open to public inspection. The minutes and electronic recording will 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 who 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. (Section 21.5(1)(a))
  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. (Section 21.5(1)(c))
  3. To discuss whether to conduct a hearing or 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. (Section 21.5(1)(e))
  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. (Section 21.5(1)(i))
  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, or in case of a sale reduce the price the board could receive for the property.  (Section 21.5(1)(j))

Exemptions to the Open Meetings Law: 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 electronic recording of 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; (Section 20.17(3))
  2. To discuss strategy in matters relating to employment conditions of employees not covered by the collective bargaining law; (Section 20.9)
  3. To conduct a private hearing related to the recommended termination of a teacher’s contract. However, the private hearing in the teacher’s contract termination will be recorded verbatim by a court reporter; and (Section 21.9)
  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. (Section 279.24)

Adopted: 6/70
Reviewed: 4/13; 10/19
Revised: 10/11; 8/14; 9/16
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 20.17, .21, 22.7; 279.15-15, .24 (2013);
1982 Op Atty Gen 162; 1980 Op Atty Gen 167; 1976 Op Atty Gen 384, 514, 765;
1972 Op Atty Gen 158; 1970 Op Atty Gen 287
IASB Reference: 212

204.4 - Annual & Organizational Meetings of the Board




Annual Meeting of the Board: Each year after August 31st and prior to the organizational meeting of the board in odd numbered years, the board will hold its annual meeting. At the annual meeting the board will examine the financial books and settle the secretary’s and treasurer’s statements for the fiscal year ending the preceding June 30. As part of the annual reports, the treasurer will present affidavits from the depository banks. The board may also appoint legal counsel at the annual meeting.

In addition to the required business, the annual meeting agenda may include:

  1. Appointment of secretary and treasurer;
  2. Determine compensation of secretary and treasurer;
    • Both secretary and treasurer shall post bond in such an amount as the board may require, but no less than that required in Chapter 291.2 of Iowa Code.
  3. Designate depository banks and maximum deposits;
  4. Receive affidavits from depository banks from the treasurer;
  5. Approve meeting dates for the following 12-month period; and
  6. Elect board officers in even numbered years.

Organizational Meeting of the Board: The board will hold its organizational meeting in odd numbered years at or before the first regular meeting following the canvass of votes. Notice of the meeting’s place and time will be given by the board secretary to each member, member-elect, and the public.

The purpose of the meeting is to transfer materials and responsibilities from the outgoing board to the new board. At the meeting, the board will elect a president and vice president who will hold office for one year. Once elected, the president and vice president will be entitled to vote on all matters before the board.

Organizational Meeting Procedures:

The organizational meeting will be held in two parts:

  1. The final meeting of the outgoing board; and
  2. The organizational meeting of the new board.

Final Meeting of the Retiring Board:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call
  3. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting(s)
  4. Audience Communications
  5. Unfinished Business
    • Current claims/accounts for the retiring board to authorize
  6. Examine and Settle Books for Previous Year
  7. Review of Election Results
    • The board secretary presents county auditor’s official report on elections and records results in the minutes.
  8. Adjournment of the Retiring Board

Organizational Meeting of the New Board:
The board secretary, as president pro tem, will preside over the meeting until a new board president is elected.

  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call
  3. Oath of Office
    • The board secretary will administer the oath to new members
  4. Election of Board President
    • The president pro tem [board secretary] calls for nominations, nominations need not be seconded. The board will then vote on the nominations. The secretary will announce the results of the vote and administer the oath of office to the president. The newly elected president will assume the chair.
  5. Election of Vice President
    • The president will call for nominations, nominations need not be seconded. The board will then vote on the nominations. The president will announce the results of the vote and administer the oath of office to the vice president.

Other Items of Business at the Organizational Meeting May Include:

  1. Board resolution of appreciation recognizing public service rendered by retiring board members
  2. Determination of dates, times, and places for regular meetings of the board
  3. Board resolution to define the operating rules and practices that will be followed by the new board
  4. Board resolution to authorize the interim payment of bills pursuant to Policy 803.6 Approval and Payment for Goods and Services
  5. Audience communications
  6. Cabinet Update
  7. Adjournment

Adopted: 6/70
Reviewed: 4/13; 8/14; 10/19
Revised: 10/11; 9/13; 9/16; 3/17
Related Policy (Code #): 204.1
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 279.1, .3, .33
IASB Reference: 200.1R1; 210.1

204.7 - Board Meeting Agenda




The tentative agenda for each board meeting will state the topics for discussion and action at the board meeting. The agenda is part of the public notice of the board meeting and will be posted and distributed. It is the responsibility of the board president and the superintendent to develop the agenda for each board meeting.

Persons wishing to place an item on the agenda must make a request to the superintendent or board president who will decide whether to place the item on the agenda and, if so, the appropriate meeting date. The person making the request must state their name, address, purpose of the presentation, action desired, and pertinent background information. Requests received after the deadline for processing the agenda may only be added to the agenda for good cause.

The tentative agenda and supporting documents shall be sent to board members at least two days prior to the scheduled board meeting. These documents are the private property of the board member.

The board will take action only on items listed on the tentative agenda posted with the public notice. Items added to the agenda after the statutorily required 24-hour notice may be discussed or taken under advisement by the board. If an added item is acted upon, the minutes of the board meeting will state the reason justifying immediate action. The board shall exercise this discretionary authority with great care.

Board action voted on from a previous agenda item cannot be brought forward for a second vote unless the following parameters are met:

  1. There is proof of a significant change of facts or addition of vital information not included in the discussion or motion of the first vote;
  2. The proposed change must meet a clearly demonstrated mission-related need;
  3. The proposed change must address the impact on students, other programs, courses, services, staffing, and/or projects;
  4. The proposed change survives a cost-benefit analysis as per the timeline of execution and any changes to the motion of the initial vote.

Any additional information related to the addition of the second vote on a subsequent board agenda must be distributed in a timely manner by the superintendent through the board secretary with the agenda for the meeting at which consideration of a second vote will be reviewed.

In order for a more efficient administration of board meetings, the board may elect to use a consent agenda for the passage of items under the management of the superintendent, board president, and board secretary. By using a consent agenda, the board has consented to the consideration of certain items as a group under one resolution. Items may be removed from the consent agenda at the request of a board member.

Public hearings may be held on school district matters at the discretion of the board. Public notice of a public hearing shall be in the same manner as for a board meeting except that notice will be given at least 10 days before the hearing is to be held; unless it is impossible or impractical to do so or the law requires otherwise.

Adopted: 6/70
Reviewed: 10/11; 4/13; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 1/12; 8/14
Related Policy (Code #): 204.1; 204.4
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21; 279.8 (2013); 1980 Op Atty Gen 269
IASB Reference: 210.8; 210.9; 214

204.8 - Open Meetings of the School Board




Any gathering of a majority of board members, either in person or electronically, in which deliberation of an issue within the scope of the board’s policy-making duties takes place is defined as a board meeting. A gathering for the purpose of social or ministerial action will not constitute a board meeting when there is no discussion of policy or no intent to avoid the purpose of the open meetings law. Meetings of the board will be conducted in an open meeting unless a closed session is authorized by law or the meeting is exempt from the open meetings law.

All such meetings, unless specifically exempt from the open meetings law, are required to have proper notification, public access, open board discussion and voting by the board members on the issues properly before the board, and a public record of the proceedings in the form of written minutes. All public board meetings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Iowa law.

The board secretary shall be responsible for public notification of all meetings, arranging for recording (when necessary), producing minutes of all meetings, and retaining appropriate minutes and records as required by law. The minutes shall be kept on file as the permanent official records of school legislation for the district. The secretary shall act as custodian of the minutes and shall make them available to any citizen who wishes to examine them during usual office hours of the district. The minutes shall be posted on the website after board approval.

Adopted: 9/85
Reviewed: 4/13; 8/14; 10/19
Revised: 10/11; 9/16
Related Policy (Code #): 204.3
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21; 279.1-2; 1982 Op Atty Gen 162; 1980 Op Atty Gen 167
IASB Reference: 211 

204.9 - Public Participation in Board Meetings




The board encourages public attendance and participation in its public meetings. Individuals or delegations are welcome at regular and special meetings; as are those wishing to present petitions to the board. In assuring the public is heard and board meetings are conducted efficiently and in an organized manner, the board has established a specific agenda item, Audience Communications, for the purpose of providing speakers the opportunity to express their points of view on items related to school business.

Regarding petitions or other submitted written materials; the board will only receive the petitions or materials and not act on them or their contents at the public meeting. Speaker comments will be taken under consideration and a response, if appropriate, may be issued at another time.

Audience Communications

Public comment is subject to the following regulations:

  1. Time Limit for Speakers: Individuals shall limit their presentation to three minutes, unless the time limit is prescheduled or waived by the board president or a majority of board members present. When there are a large number of speakers to be heard, the board may shorten the time.
  2. How to Address the Board: The speaker is asked to stand during audience communications, be recognized by the presiding officer, state and record their name and address, identify whom they represent, and state the topic and comment in a respectful manner. Only those individuals recognized by the presiding officer will be allowed to speak. The speaker’s comments should not contain names or other identifying information about students, teachers, administrators, or other personnel because of the potentially confidential nature of certain situations. In such cases the speaker should instead contact the appropriate administrator with concerns.
  3. Acknowledgement of Speaker Comments: The speaker’s comments will be received and filed (for written copies) by the board. If appropriate, and for clarification purposes, the board president or superintendent may seek additional information from the speaker. The board president will thank the speaker for their comments. The board, at its discretion, may choose to place the topic on a future agenda or delegate any action to the administration.
  4. Conduct and Remarks Out-of-Order: Undue interruption or other interference with the orderly conduct of board business will not be allowed. Defamatory or abusive remarks are always out-of-order. The presiding officer may terminate the speaker’s comments if, after being called to order, they persist in improper conduct or remarks. If disruptive, the individual making the comments or any individual causing disruption will be asked to leave the board meeting.
  5. Special Procedures: The board reserves the right to establish special procedures to deal with extraordinary issues or circumstances. If the decision is made not to have audience communications at a particular meeting, it will be so noted on the board agenda which is posted at least 24 hours before the scheduled board meeting.

Individuals, including students, who have a complaint about employees may bring their complaint to the board only after they have followed board Policy 1003.3 Complaints about School Personnel, in addressing their concern. 

Note: Members of the public do not have a legal right to participate in board meetings. The board makes the determination how best, if at all, to involve the public in board meetings.

Adopted: 3/72
Reviewed: 10/11; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 4/13; 8/14; 10/14
Related Policy (Code#): 1003.3
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21; 22; 279.8
IASB Reference: 213

204.10 - School Board Rules of Order




An orderly board meeting allows the board members to participate in the discussion and decision process on an issue confronting the school district. Rules of order for board meetings allow school district business and the relative information concerning the business to be brought to the attend of the board. They also allow the board to discuss, act upon, and make a clear record of school district business in a regular, ordered, reasonable, and consistent manner.

The board shall follow Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised, latest edition as modified by this policy and subsequent rule.

The purposes of modified rules adopted by the board are:

  1. To establish guidelines by which the business of the governing board can be conducted in a regular and internally consistent manner;
  2. To organize the meetings so that all necessary matters can be brought to the board and decisions of the board can be made in an orderly and reasonable manner;
  3. To ensure members of the board, concentrating on the substantive issues at hand, have the necessary information to make decisions and to ensure adequate discussion of decisions to be made; and
  4. To ensure that meetings and actions of the board are conducted so as to be informative to the staff and the public, and to produce a clear record of actions taken and decisions made.

It is the responsibility of each board member to follow the rules of order stated in this policy at each meeting, and it is the responsibility of the presiding officer to conduct the board meeting within these rules.

Adopted: 9/85
Reviewed: 4/13; 8/14; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 11/08
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21.2, .7; 279.8 (2013)
IASB Reference: 210.7

204.10-R - Administrative Regulations Regarding School Board Rules of Order




The following rules of procedure have been adopted by the board at the annual or organizational meeting:

  1. Board members need not rise to gain the recognition of the board president;
  2. All motions will be made as a positive action;
  3. A motion will be adopted or carried if it receives an affirmative vote from more than half of the votes cast. Only “yes” or “no” votes are counted in this calculation. It should be noted that some motions require a larger number of affirmative votes, such as to move into a closed session;
  4. All motions shall receive a second, prior to opening the issue for discussion of the board. If a motion does not receive a second, the board president may declare the motion dead for lack of a second;
  5. The board president may decide the order in which board members will be recognized to address an issue. An attempt should be made to alternate between pro and con positions;
  6. The board president shall rule on all motions that come before the board;
  7. The board president may rule on points of order brought before the board;
  8. The board president shall have complete authority to recognize any member of the audience regarding a request to participate in the board meeting. Members of the public who wish to participate shall follow procedures outlined in board Policy 204.9;
  9. The board president has the authority to declare a recess at any time for the purpose of restoring decorum to the meeting;
  10. The order in which names will be called for roll call votes will be as follows:
  • All board members will be listed in alphabetical order by last name.
  • All roll call votes will be called in alphabetical order beginning at various positions on the list.
  • The first roll call vote will begin at the top of the list and proceed down. The second roll call vote will begin with the second name and proceed down the list with the last name called to be the first person called on the previous vote.
  • A person’s absence or presence will have no effect on the rotation.
  • The board secretary will maintain the record of rotation for roll call votes. The sequence will continue from meeting to meeting.
  1. The board president has the same authority and responsibility as each board member to vote on all issues.

Adopted: 9/85
Reviewed: 10/11; 4/13; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 8/14
Related Policy (Code#): 204.10
IASB Reference: 210.7R1

204.12 - School Board Records




The school board will keep and maintain permanent records of the board including, but not limited to, records of the minutes of board meetings and other required records of the board.

It is the responsibility of the board secretary to keep the minutes of the board meetings. The minutes of each board meeting will include, at a minimum, the following items: a record of date, time, place, members present, action taken, the vote of each member, and the schedule of bills allowed will be attached. This information will be available within two weeks of the board meeting and forwarded to the newspaper designated as the official newspaper for publication. The information does not need to be published within two weeks. The schedule of bills allowed may be published on a once-monthly basis in lieu of publication with the minutes. The permanent records of the board minutes may include more detail than is required for the publication of the minutes.

Minutes waiting approval at the next board meeting will be available for inspection after the board secretary transcribes the notes into typewritten material which has been proofread for errors and corrected.

Detailed minutes and complete recordings will be made of closed meetings of the board as required by the Iowa Code. Detailed minutes and complete recordings of closed meetings that are exempt from the provisions of the Iowa Code will be made when deemed necessary by the board. Detailed minutes will include a synopsis of the discussion, the people present, and any action occurring during the closed session. The board secretary will be custodian of the detailed minutes and recordings which will be maintained in a securely locked depository separate from the regular board minutes for a period of one year; after which they will immediately and routinely be destroyed (recordings will be erased). The minutes and recordings shall only be opened upon court order in an action to enforce the requirements of the open meetings law.

Detailed minutes and recordings of closed sessions held under the purchase of real estate exception to open meetings must be made available for public examination when the transaction discussed is completed. There shall be separate detailed minutes and recordings for each real estate transaction.

Adopted: 3/79
Reviewed: 4/13
Revised: 8/14; 9/16; 10/19
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21, 22, 279.8, .35-36; 291.6; 618.3;
281 IAC 12.3(i); 1982 Op Atty Gen 215; 1974 Op Atty Gen 403; 1952 Op Atty Gen 133
IASB Reference: 215

204.13 - Quorum of the School Board




The majority of the full membership of the Board of Directors constitutes a quorum and must be present for the transaction of business, either in person or electronically.

An affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast is sufficient to pass a motion or take any action unless law or board policy requires a vote of a greater number.

The adjournment of a meeting may be executed without a quorum.

The affirmative vote of two-thirds of the entire membership of the board, or the affirmative vote of all members present at a meeting where a quorum but not the entire board is present, is required before the board can go into closed session.

Adopted: 9/85
Reviewed: 4/13; 8/14; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 11/08
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21.5(1); 279.4
IASB Reference: 210.6

204.15 - Board Member Oath of Office




School board members are officials of the state. As a public official, each board member must pledge to uphold the Iowa and United States Constitutions and carry out the responsibilities of the office to be best of their ability.

Each newly-elected board member will take the oath of office prior to any action taken as a school official. The oath of office is taken by each new board member elected at or before the organizational meeting of the board. In the event of an appointment or special election to fill a vacancy, the new board member will take the oath of office within 10 days of the appointment or election.

Board members elected to offices of the board will also take the same oath of office but replacing the “office of board member” with the title of the office to which they were elected.

The oath of office is administered by the board secretary and does not need to be given at a board meeting. In the event the board secretary is absent, the oath is administered by another board member.

Oath of Office: “Do you solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Iowa, and that you will faithfully and impartially to the best of your ability discharge the duties of the office of board member in the Linn-Mar Community School District as now and hereafter required by law?”

Adopted: 9/85
Reviewed: 4/13; 8/14; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 12/95
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 277.28; 279.1, .6 (2013)
IASB Reference: 202.2

204.16 - School Board Work Sessions




The board, a learning and decision making body, is confronted with a continuing flow of topics, issues, and needs which require action. While the board is determined to expedite its business, it is also mindful of the importance of planning, brainstorming, and thoughtful discussion without action. Therefore, the board may schedule work sessions and retreats in order to provide its members and the administration with such opportunities. The board has the authority to hire an outside facilitator to assist them in work sessions.

Topics for discussion and study will be announced publicly, and work sessions and retreats will be conducted in open session. No board action will take place at the work session.

Adopted: 9/85
Reviewed: 4/13; 8/14; 9/16; 10/19
Revised: 8/05
Related Policy (Code#): 204.1-4. .7-13
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 21; 22.7; 279.8 (2013); 1982 Op Atty Gen 162; 1980 Op Atty Gen 167;
1976 Op Atty Gen 384, 514, 765; 1972 Op Atty Gen 158; 1970 Op Atty Gen 287
IASB Reference: 210.4