Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, public agencies, including boards of education, must make their meetings, other than executive sessions, open to the public. Last year, the Connecticut legislature passed a law allowing public agencies, until April 30, 2022, to hold public meetings that are accessible to the public through electronic equipment, or through electronic equipment in conjunction with an in-person meeting ("hybrid" meetings).
Last Thursday, Governor Lamont signed into law House Bill 5269, as amended by House Schedule A. The new law removes the April 30, 2022 sunset date and allows public agencies to continue to hold remote and hybrid meetings, as long as they comply with requirements under existing law. The bill also explicitly provides that regional school districts may hold remote or hybrid public meetings to present a proposed budget in the same way as other public agencies.
Boards of education are reminded to ensure that they comply with all of the conditions required to conduct remote or hybrid meetings, including, but not limited to, the following:
- No less than 48 hours before the board conducts a regular meeting by means of electronic equipment, the board must provide direct notification in writing or by electronic transmission to each member of the board, and post a notice that the board intends to conduct the meeting solely or in part by means of electronic equipment, (1) in the board's administrative offices; (2) in the office of the Town Clerk, and (3) on the board's website, if any.
- No less than 24 hours before any such meeting, the board must post the agenda for the meeting in the same manner as the notice of the meeting described above. The notice and agenda must include instructions for the public to attend and provide comment or otherwise participate in the meeting by means of electronic equipment or in person, as applicable and permitted by law.
- If the board meeting is fully remote, the board must provide members of the public, upon written request, with a physical location and any electronic equipment necessary to attend the remote meeting in real-time, and the same opportunities to provide comment or testimony and otherwise participate in the meeting that individuals would be accorded if the meeting were held in person, subject to certain exceptions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.