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July 2, 2018

Request: Did the Kenmare Public School Board violate the open meetings laws by holding meetings without providing notice?

Conclusion: The Kenmare Public School Board held a special meeting on February 27, 2018. Board members were notified of the meeting date and time through a group text. The Board admits that it failed to provide public notice of the meeting, in violation of the law. The Board also admitted to using group text messages. Use of text messages for purely ministerial purposes, such as setting the date and time of a meeting, or providing information to review before a meeting, do not trigger the open meetings law. A detailed review by this office of the group texts among board members shows a practice of utilizing group text messaging but only for for purely ministerial matters, such as setting meeting dates or reminding the board members of an upcoming deadline, which uses are permissible. The Board’s use of text messages for ministerial matters did not violate the law.

Opinion: 2018-O-12

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