Organizational Meetings—Some Frequently Asked Questions

Kacie Kefgen

By Kacie Kefgen, MASB Assistant Director of Labor Relations and Legal Services

DashBoard, Dec. 19, 2018

In January, most school boards conduct their annual organizational meeting. The general purpose of the meeting is to organize the board by electing officers and appointing committee members for the upcoming year and to approve items that must be considered on an annual basis. Here are some common questions we get about organizational meetings:

When should a local school board hold its organizational meeting?

Since new school board terms begin on Jan. 1, it makes sense for the organizational meeting to take place in January. The board’s bylaws may address this question as well.

Does the Revised School Code outline a process for electing officers?

No. The process and procedure for nominating and electing board officers should be clearly stated in the board’s bylaws. Additionally, a board may refer to Robert’s Rules of Order for guiding principles on parliamentary procedures for electing officers. Regardless of what election process is used, secret ballots are not permitted. The Attorney General has ruled the Open Meetings Act prohibits a voting procedure that prevents citizens from knowing how members of the school board have voted.

What are some common agenda items for an organizational meeting?

There is no definitive list of agenda items that are required for an organizational meeting, but here are some items that may make sense to address at the organizational meeting:

  • Election of officers
  • Setting of regular meeting dates
  • Designation of a person for posting notices of meetings
  • Designation of a depository for school district funds
  • Committee appointments
  • Ceremonial reenactment of the oath of office for recently elected board members
  • General appointments (Delegate(s) and Alternate(s) for the MASB Delegate Assembly, County Association of School Boards Representative, Board Parliamentarian, etc.)
  • Approve memberships (MASB, MHSAA, etc.)
  • Approval of retainer contracts (law firms, auditor, labor relations consultant, etc.)
  • Other matters specified by board bylaws or policies

Does the Revised School Code require a local school board to have an organizational meeting?

No. Prior to its revision in 1996, the School Code of 1976 required a school board to, “organize the board at [a] meeting by electing a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer.” Now, the Revised School Code does not reference an organizational meeting for local boards of education. Section 613 of the Revised School Code, however, provides that an intermediate school board shall hold an organizational meeting.

While not required by law, a local school board, for practical purposes, still needs to have an annual meeting to organize the board by electing officers and establishing committees and to act on matters that require adoption or authorization on an annual basis. It is not necessary, however, to close an organizational meeting and then open a regular meeting immediately thereafter. The organizational meeting and the regular monthly meeting can be combined into one meeting.

If you have questions about this or other school law topics, be sure to contact your district legal counsel or the Legal Team here at MASB.

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