Opinion Columns & Blogs

Is Wichita school board violating open meetings law?

“There’s no way that’s right.” That’s the conclusion of Max Kautsch, an attorney for the Kansas Press Association and an open records expert, on the Wichita school board voting at the end of its regular meeting Monday to recess into a private meeting for more than a week – until noon Feb. 21 – to discuss personnel matters and interview candidates for superintendent. Tom Powell, the school board’s attorney, contends that a 1996 Kansas Attorney General’s opinion allows elected bodies authority to recess into a private session one day and return on a subsequent day. But the school board is stretching that opinion well beyond what’s reasonable. If it is not violating the letter of the Kansas Open Meetings Act, the board is certainly violating its spirit. – Phillip Brownlee