During its meeting on January 13, 2015, the District 97 Board of Education approved revisions to policy 2:140 (Communications To and From the Board) in response to Public Act 98-930. Per this act, the following new language regarding the process for contacting the board via email was added to the policy.
Individuals may submit questions or communications for the Board’s consideration to the Superintendent or may use the electronic link to the Board’s email address(es) that is posted on the District’s website. In accordance with the Open Meetings Act and the Oath of Office taken by Board members, individual board members will not (a) reply to an email on behalf of the entire board, or (b) engage in the discussion of District business with a majority of Board-quorum.
The Superintendent or designee shall
- Ensure that the home page for the District’s website contains an active electronic link to the email address(es) for the School Board, and
- Provide the Board, such as in the Board meeting packet, with all emails that are received and any feedback regarding them.
If contacted individually, Board members will refer the person to the appropriate level of authority, except in unusual situations. Board members' questions or communications to staff or about programs will be channeled through the Superintendent's office. Board members will not take individual action that might compromise the Board or District.
The legal department from the Illinois Association of School Board's Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) offered additional information/further clarification regarding the change in the law, which included the following requirements and recommendations.
- No board member should ever reply to an email sent to him/her individually or to the entire board. As the policy states, he/she should refer the person who sent the email to the appropriate district employee.
- While it is not legally required, best practice is for board members to forward all messages sent to their individual, district-issued email accounts to the rest of the board to ensure they are aware of all communications sent by members of the general public.
- Any messages the board wants to address as a group must be added to a board meeting agenda.
People who want to contact the board via email can do so by using the links to the individual addresses that are listed below, or by sending an email to [email protected], which is the address for the entire group.