District 205 faces Attorney General inquiry regarding Open Meetings Act
By Brandon Reid
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s (D) office is launching an inquiry into at least seven Open Meetings Act (OMA) Requests for Review in relation to the Rockford Board of Education.
According to a March 16 letter from Assistant Public Access Counselor Matthew C. Rogina to Rockford Public School District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield and District 205 Attorney Lori Hoadley, “The requests raise questions about whether the Board provided proper accommodations for the March 1, 2011 meeting and whether certain members of the public were afforded the opportunity to address the Board.” Read a pdf of the letter by clicking here.
At the March 1 Board of Education meeting, more than 300 people filled the Ellis Arts Academy Auditorium as board officials moved to close six district schools. Security officials reported signing in 509 people, some of whom were forced to watch from an overflow room while about 50 were kept outside the building until more space was cleared in the auditorium. According to those in attendance, some who were waiting outside went home because officials would not open the building until 15 minutes prior to the meeting.
Madigan’s office is requesting District 205 provide “a written, detailed answer to the allegations raised in the nine Requests for Review submitted to this Office together with a copy of the March 1, 2011 agenda and the meeting minutes.” The school district has seven days to respond to the request.
The letter from Rogina said the inquiry could result in three possible outcomes: “First, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) may decide that no violation has occurred and will so inform the public body and requester. Second, the matter may be resolved through informal mediation by the Public Access Counselor’s Office attorneys and staff. Third, the PAC may decide to issue a binding opinion.”
Check back to rockrivertimes.com as further details about this story become available.
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