District of Columbia Public Charter School Board’s Compliance with the OMA (#OOG-2021-0002-M_4.30.21)

On January 4, 2022, the Director of Open Government (Director) issued advisory opinion #OOG-2021-0002-M_4.30.21, concerning the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board’s (“DC PCSB”) compliance with the OMA. The Complaint alleged the following OMA violations: (1) that DC PCSB failed to continuously make available for public inspection for five years, public meeting notices of seven board meetings it held in 2017 and 2018; (2) that DC PCSB’s public meeting records did not record important events, including board votes; and (3) that DC PCSB public meeting records possibly omitted an entire meeting.

Based upon the Office of Open Government's investigation and the Director's analysis of the facts, she found that: (1) DC PCSB’s website did not include links to public meeting notices or meeting records for seven DC PCSB meetings held between October 18, 2017, and October 31, 2018, prior to the filing of this Complaint; (2) the OOG’s March 2019, advisory opinion disposed of the allegations concerning the October 31, 2018, meeting stated in the Complaint; (3) the allegations concerning all but the October 16, 2017 and October 23, 2017, public meetings became moot once DC PCSB re-published the missing meeting notices; (4) once the issues became moot, the Complaint's allegations concerning all but the October 16, 2017 and October 23, 2017, meetings were technical violations of the OMA and harmless error that did not infringe upon Complainant’s rights; (5) DC PCSB’s failure to notice the public of the cancelled October 16, 2017, meeting and the rescheduling of the meeting to October 23, 2017, violated the OMA’s “Notice of meetings” provisions; and (6) the OMA “Notice of meetings” violations is not time-barred.

To ensure that all future DC PCSB meetings fully comply with the provisions of the OMA, the Director recommended the following for immediate implementation by the DC PCSB: (1) that DC PCSB adhere to the OMA’s and the District of Columbia School Reform Act’s public notice requirements; and (2) that DC PCSB attend an OMA training within 60 days of the issuance of this binding advisory opinion.

Public Body: 
Public Charter School Board (PCSB)