Public Access Opinion 19-004

Public Recital Requirement

Open Meetings Act - OMA
Case: Public Access Opinion 19-004
Date: Friday, May 17, 2019

A school board (Board) violated the public recital requirement in Section 2.06(e) of OMA during its January 28, 2019 meeting, when it failed to identify a teacher by name before issuing the teacher a disciplinary action called a notice to remedy. Section 2(e) of OMA requires a public body to make a “public recital of the nature of the matter being considered and other information that will inform the public of the business being conducted” before it takes final action on the matter. 5 ILCS 120/2(e). In the case of Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 v. Attorney General, 77 N.E.3d 625 (Ill. 2017), the Illinois Supreme Court, in interpreting the meaning of Section 2(e), held that “the recital must announce the nature of the matter under consideration, with sufficient detail to identify the particular transaction or issue, but need not provide an explanation of its terms or its significance.” Relying on the interpretation from the Springfield case, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) found that the board’s mere public recital of the title of the resolution authorizing the notice to remedy, without identifying the teacher that was the subject of the discipline, did not give enough information to identify the particular transaction. As a result, the PAC ordered the Board to re-vote on the notice to remedy resolution and before voting, to provide a public recital of the matter that included reciting the teacher’s name. This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.