This Month In County History

1987: Closed meetings spark strong protests

July 29, 2005

In 1987, county PTA officials charged that budget decisions that eventually resulted in a storm of protest against the county Board of Education were initially made in a closed-door session. But the state's open-meetings law, described by one assistant attorney general as "very vague," could allow for such a private meeting. Given the nature of the decision made in that closed-door session, the law precludes state courts from penalizing the school board if the act was violated, the same assistant attorney general concluded.

A letter from the PTA to Anne L. Dodd, the school board chair, and Superintendent Michael E. Hickey about an unpublicized May 19 meeting is the last flap over the school board's moves to balance its $117.1 million budget. The vote to eliminate driver education and summer school classes, except remedial programs for high school students, resulted in complaints from parents, the County Council chairman and county executive.

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