Sunday, June 10, 2007

Closed door vote violates open meeting rule

When Big Hollow School District 38 officials voted to cut lunch, gym, recess, the arts and extracurricular activities, among other programs, they appear to have violated a state open-meetings law and may have ignored some education code requirements, officials said Wednesday.

The Lake County state's attorney's office notified school officials that the board's May 21 vote was improper because the school board took final action on an issue that was not posted on its meeting agenda, said Meg Marcouiller, chief deputy of the state's attorney's civil division.

School board members announced last week they plan to shorten the school day by 45 minutes to 5 1/2 hours and cut the lunch program, recess, art, music, computer classes and extracurricular activities next fall as a result of a recently failed tax referendum. They also eliminated physical education for kindergarten through 5th grade, according to a press release.

The state requires that physical education, art and music are taught in elementary grades unless a special waiver is granted, said Matt Vanover, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education.

Chicago Tribune