Behind (Remotely) Closed Doors: Keeping Tabs on School Boards and Leaders


State sunshine laws and open meetings acts are meant to promote government transparency and democratic participation. But as COVID-19 has prompted school boards and state educational agencies to shift to virtual meetings, reporters have already seen slippages in adherence to transparency laws.

With big budget deadlines looming and other major decisions being made every day, journalists and analysts are wondering if the move to virtual meetings means virtually zero public input and communication.

In this webinar, local reporters and a legal expert explain what’s happening and why. What challenges are they seeing related to transparency, rule changes, open records, and budget processes? How are Zoombombing and other technology issues impeding the ability of parents and community activists to participate in public meetings — even for districts making good faith attempts? When reporters suspect that districts are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to skirt accountability, how can they leverage their skills and networks to respond? What solutions are emerging?

This webinar was presented on May 5, 2020.