Cobb County school board members have bought property, approved leases and taken other actions during executive session meetings that are closed to the public.
Georgia law allows elected boards to discuss personnel, legal matters and real estate purchases during executive sessions, but the State Attorney General’s Office has said elected officials are not allowed to vote during closed meetings. The votes must be done during public meetings.
After the AJC brought the issue to the Cobb school board, leaders said they would no longer vote in secret.
Cobb County wasn’t the only school system to vote in secret.
The Gwinnett County school board routinely approves land purchases during executive sessions. They have continued to do so even though several reporters – including Aileen Dodd and myself – have written about it.
Gwinnett school board members and their attorneys have said they disagree with the state attorney general’s interpretation of the open meetings law. Board members have said they must approve the land deals in secret to guarantee the district gets the best price.
Others say voting in secret deprives the public from having a say on how boards spend their money. Parents, teachers and others say they have a right to voice their opinions on important decisions – such as where schools are to be built – before boards vote.
How worried are you about school boards voting in secret?