Education

Magoffin County school board member must post meeting notice at his camper — in Maryland

The Magoffin County Board of Education building.
The Magoffin County Board of Education building. Magoffin County Schools

A Magoffin County school board member must post notice of school board meetings in his camper if he is videoconferencing from there, according to a Kentucky Office of Education Accountability ruling.

Board member David Smith, a pipe fitter who travels for his job, has participated since 2015 in school board meetings by videoconferencing from his camper when he is out of state.

In a July report, the Kentucky’s Office of Education Accountability said that videoconferencing by school board members at meetings is allowed under state law. Smith and the school board had complied with the law in regard to videoconferencing in most respects but hadn’t posted notice of school board meetings in his camper as the law required.

“It may seem odd for Mr. Smith to post notice of the videoconference at his camper in Maryland, but the law requires that step to be taken,” the report said.

Smith, in a telephone interview from his home in Magoffin County, told the Herald-Leader that in his camper when he is in Maryland, “I put the notice up when we have a meeting.”

The OEA report said Smith had missed several meetings since 2013, before the videoconferencing began.

The report said that Smith now gets an agenda before school board meetings, and he has had one technology glitch since he began videoconferencing. Other school board members told state investigators that Smith had been effectively participating through the videoconferencing.

Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said he wasn’t aware of an interpretation of the law that requires posting a meeting notice in a home or other site where the board member is, but that he was aware that videoconferencing had been used on two other occasions by board members who couldn’t attend meetings because of illness or other reasons.

In addition, the Fayette County school board has used videoconferencing at least once: when its former chairman, the late John Price, was in the hospital.

“Ten years ago, it probably didn’t happen at all,” Hughes said. “Technology has allowed that option to take place today, but it’s still very rare.”

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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