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School Board Florida Sunshine Law workshop Friday

By Staff | Mar 18, 2010

Members of the Lee County School Board are scheduled to attend a workshop Friday on Florida’s Sunshine Laws.
According to discussion points outlined on the meeting agenda, board members will discuss the Sunshine Laws, public records act, administrative procedures act and ethics at the Lee Education Center’s Training Room “D” starting at 10 a.m.
Sunshine Laws address how and when public records can be dispersed, as well as when and where board members can discuss official business. They were designed to keep the process of governing transparent and allow members of the community to hear all the debate behind any law or policy.
During the school board’s March 9 meeting, Chairman Steve Teuber announced that he scheduled a Sunshine Laws workshop.
While Teuber didn’t provide a reason for calling the meeting on March 9, Board Member Robert Chilmonik said he assumes it’s meant to address a disagreement between the two regarding an allegation that Teuber approached him during an event at Mariner High School wanting to discuss district business.
Any discussion of official business has the potential of becoming a voting item, therefore the Sunshine Laws prohibit members of any governing body from discussing those type of matters outside of a meeting.
The topic allegedly brought up between the two of them was never released publicly.
“I will not meet you in a private 20-minute meeting to discuss any matters related to school board business due to my concerns over the possibility of a Sunshine violation,” wrote Chilmonik in an e-mail he sent to Teuber on Feb. 17. “We can, however, discuss any of your concerns at our next scheduled public school board meeting.”
Teuber responded to Chilmonik the next day thanking him for sending the letter.
“I believe that we discussed the issue at Mariner yesterday and I understood you then to say that you would not meet with me any further on this issue,” wrote Teuber. “You made yourself clear and I think it did as well on this issue.”
He added that neither of them would discuss the topic again unless the other prompted it.
“I also agree with your statements Tuesday that any further discussion on this matter is not good for the school district or our children, and your assertion that discussion like this needs to stop,” wrote Teuber.
Chilmonik said that Florida School Board Association Executive Director Wayne Blanton is scheduled to give a presentation to the board on what they can and can’t do in relation to the state’s Sunshine Laws.
“I think it will be very helpful for the board, although anytime I have a question about the Sunshine Laws, I go to the board attorney,” said Chilmonik.
Teuber could not be reached for comment.