Experts: Cutting Columbus superintendent candidates without public vote might have violated law

Columbus City Schools officials won’t discuss how the school board narrowed a field of 19 superintendent applicants to a secret subset who were interviewed last week without violating the Ohio Open Meetings Act, which requires that all official board decisions be made in open, public meetings.

According to the Ohio secretary of state’s “Sunshine Laws” manual, during executive sessions — private meetings like those that the Board of Education can legally hold to discuss personnel as part of its nationwide superintendent search — a “public body may not take any formal action, such as voting or otherwise reaching a collective decision.”

“They can’t decide on a lunch menu in executive session,” said Tim Smith, an attorney specializing in public records and open-meetings law who created the Media Law Center for Ethics and Access at Kent State University. Read more…