Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Violations of State Law by Decatur School Board and Adminstration

I have reviewed all minutes of the MSD Decatur Township School Board that are posted on the District website. These include all of the minutes from regularly scheduled Board meetings for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. No minutes for special sessions or work sessions are posted, although they are shown approved in the minutes of the regular meetings.

It is very disturbing that at no time from January, 2006, through December, 2009, is there any mention of any contract nor is there any record of any contract being submitted to the Board for a vote.

State law (IC 20-26-4-8) (addition of bold font is my addition)
Approval of contracts Sec. 8. Notwithstanding any other law, the president and secretary of the governing body of a school corporation are entitled, on behalf of the school corporation, to sign any contract, including employment contracts and contracts for goods and services. However, each contract must be approved by a majority of all members of the governing body. In the absence of either the president or secretary of the governing body, the vice president is entitled to sign the contracts with the officer who is present.

Indeed, at no point in these years of minutes, was there either mention of the public opening of competitive bids by the Board, or a designation of a committee to take on that responsibility on behalf of the Board.

State law (IC 20-26-4-6) (addition of bold font is my addition)
IC 20-26-4-6Bids for purchase of supplies or equipment Sec. 6.
(a) The governing body of any school corporation may designate a committee of at least two (2) of the governing body's members, or a committee of not less than two (2) employees of the school corporation, to open and tabulate bids:
(1) in connection with the purchase of supplies, material, or equipment;
(2) for the construction or alteration of a building or facility; or
(3) for any similar purpose.
(b) Bids described in subsection (a):
(1) may be opened by the committee at the time and place fixed by the advertisement for bids;
(2) must be read aloud and tabulated publicly, to the extent required by law for governing bodies;
(3) must be available for inspection.
(c) The bids described in subsection (a) must be reported to and the tabulation entered upon the records of the governing body at the governing body's next meeting following the bid opening.
(d) A bid described in subsection (a) may not be accepted or rejected by the committee, but the bid must be accepted or rejected solely by the governing body in a board meeting open to the public as provided in section 3 of this chapter.

The Board is either being deliberately kept in the dark by its Administration or it is willfully avoiding disclosure of fiscal matters to the public in its meetings. Either way, these violations of State law should cease at once so that the public can have the access to this information - a protection created by the laws.

An additional State law was violated just last Thursday evening. On January 28, 2010, the MSD Decatur Township School Board held an executive session followed by a special meeting which was followed by a work session. I am still looking into how legally adequate the notice of these three meetings was. But, one thing is clear - the location of these meetings in the Southwest Pavilion Office Building instead of the School Board room is a violation of State law.

State law states (IC 20-26-4-3) (addition of bold font is my addition)
(c) Special meetings of a governing body must be held on call by the governing body's president or by the superintendent of the school corporation. The call must be evidenced by a written notice specifying the date, time, and place of the meeting, delivered to each member personally or sent by mail or telegram so that each member has at least seventy-two (72) hours notice of the special meeting. Special meetings must be held at the regular meeting place of the board.

The regular meeting place is the Board Room in the Central Office. That meeting was held in violation of at least this State law.

The attitude of this School Board and this School District Administration is to do whatever they please. Regardless even of State laws that are easily located.


Anonymous said...

Is anybody going to contact the newspaper and television people??

Had Enough Indy? said...

I know a few people have been trying to draw the interest of the media. There is at least one reporter who indicates an interest, but nothing concrete has come of it yet.

If folks want media coverage, it may take a lot of Decaturites reaching out to individual reporters.