New Wisconsin Law Provides Added Flexibility for Providing Notice of Special Meetings to School Board Members
February 14, 2020
On February 5, 2020, 2019 Wisconsin Act 96 (Act 96) was enacted into law and subsequently became effective on February 6, 2020. Act 96 takes an important step in modernizing the manner in which school boards may notify their school board members of upcoming special meetings.
In its previous form, Wis. Stat. § 120.11(2) provided that if a school board planned to hold a special meeting, the board clerk, in the clerk’s absence, the board president must notify each school board member, in writing, of the time and place of a special meeting of the school board at least twenty-four (24) hours before said meeting. Further, these notices were required to be delivered personally to each school board member or mailed via first class mail to each school board member’s residence.
Act 96 updates these notification requirements to provide more commonly utilized means of communication. At its core, Act 96:
- Requires the clerk or, in the clerk’s absence, the president to notify each school board member of the meeting in a manner likely to give the member notice of the meeting.
- Specifies that the date, time, and place for the meeting must be set by the clerk or, in the clerk’s absence, the president.
- Provides that, if a clerk or, in the clerk’s absence, the president determines that providing notice at least 24 hours before the meeting is, for good cause shown by the clerk or president, impossible or impractical, the clerk or president may notify each school board member of the date, time, and place of the meeting less than 24 hours, but not less than 2 hours, before the meeting.
Wisconsin State Senator Luther Olsen summarized the first and most impactful of these updates with the following statement in support of Act 96’s passage:
This legislation updates current practice and allows for more flexibility by giving the school boards the option to give notice of a special meeting by email, text message, phone call, personally, or via first class mail as is current practice.
Along with the flexibility Act 96 offers for providing notice, Wis. Stat. § 120.11(2) was further modified to mirror the “emergency meeting” exception to the standard twenty-four (24) hour notice requirements found in the state’s Open Meetings Law. Wis. Stat. § 19.84(3). Under the new law, a school district clerk or president may provide less than the twenty-four (24) hours of notice before a special meeting is held, so long as circumstances exist that make this timeline impossible or impractical. However, under no circumstances may less than two (2) hours of notice be provided.
As Act 96 is now in effect, Wisconsin school boards should take advantage of the ability to notify school board members of special meetings via the most convenient and efficient forms of communication available.
For questions regarding this article, please contact the author, Attorney Colin M. Lane (email: email@example.com; telephone: 844-626-0909), or your Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c., attorney.
On April 3, 2020, Attorney Shana Lewis will be presenting at the Wisconsin Association of School Superintendent Assistants (WASSA) Spring Workshop at the Ostoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on the topic of Wisconsin Public School Districts and the New Overtime Rules Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
On February 28, 2020, Attorney Shana Lewis will be speaking to the students enrolled in ED 820 Law, Media, and Marketing for Edgewood College about personnel decisions in the public schools.
On February 12, 2020, Attorney Kirk Strang will present for the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators – Middle and High School Principals Convention in Wisconsin Dells. Kirk will discuss legal issues of importance to middle and high school principals, with a special emphasis on technology-related issues.
On January 30, 2020, Attorney Geoffrey Lacy will be speaking on workplace investigations at the WPELRA Conference in Madison.
On January 29, 2020, Attorney Kirk Strang will present to the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators – Associate Principals Conference in Milwaukee. Kirk will discuss technology issues affecting associate principals at the Conference.
Focus | Wisconsin
We are also focused on providing legal services in other areas that our clients need, such as real estate, general business law, creditor’s rights, and business litigation.
- Green Bay, Madison, and Oshkosh