School board members who are unable to attend regular or special meetings due to a family emergency, military service, or a work related absence will soon be able to participate through electronic attendance.
The DeKalb County Board of Education adopted the new school board meetings policy on first reading Thursday night as provided for in state law.
Under the policy, an absent board member may attend a regular or special meeting by electronic means as often as he or she is able to do so if the absence is because of military service. However, a board member may not participate electronically more than two times per year for absences due to work and or family emergencies. A quorum of the Board must be physically present at the meeting in order for any member to attend electronically.
Any member wishing to participate electronically must do so using technology which allows the Chair to visually identify the member.
The responsibility for the connection lies with the member wishing to participate electronically. No more than three attempts to connect shall be made, unless the Board chooses to make additional attempts.
This new policy could possibly allow third district board member Kenny Rhody to participate in school board meetings electronically when he becomes able to do so. Rhody has been battling a serious medical condition for the last several months and has been unable to attend any school board meetings.
Second district member Charles Robinson proposed the new policy with Rhody in mind. "I know I can't speak for Mr. Rhody, but I know Mr. Rhody is very serious in his duties and responsibilities as a school board member," said Robinson. "I think this might interest him in being able to attend school board meetings electronically due to the fact that with his medical condition it might be a long process before he can actually attend a school board meeting. I would like to make a motion that we adopt it on first reading because it will make us in compliance with state law and it would give a board member an opportunity to participate if he wishes," added Robinson.
Sixth district member Doug Stephens offered a second to Robinson's motion. All members present voted in favor of passage on first reading.
The policy provides for electronic attendance due to a family emergency. The member must be absent due to the hospitalization of the member or the death or hospitalization of the member's spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, step-son, step-daughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
Electronic attendance is also provided due to a work related absence. Under the policy, the board member must be absent from the county due to work. The member wishing to participate must give the Chair and director at least five days notice prior to the meeting of the member's desire to participate electronically.