VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. NON-MEMBERS OF SCHOOL BOARD.
ATTENDANCE AT EXECUTIVE MEETINGS AND ACCESS TO RECORDS EXEMPT FROM
May 23, 1980
The Honorable Mary A. Marshall
Member, House of Delegates
You ask whether newly designated Arlington County School Board
members whose appointments will not become effective until July 1,
1980, can legally attend executive meetings of the school board and
have access to confidential board records and correspondence, such as
student and personnel records and records prior to July 1, 1980. It
is my understanding that the designees will not vote as board members
but will attend meetings to discuss and familiarize themselves with
current board business and procedures.
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (the "Act") permits public
bodies, including school boards, to hold closed or executive meetings
for discussion of specified subjects. See §§2.1-344 (a)(1)
through 2.1-344 (a)(9). Nothing contained in the Act, however,
requires that such matters be discussed privately. Accordingly, the
school board can legally allow persons who are not board members to
attend lawfully authorized executive meetings.
Similarly, the school board may legally allow designees access to
the board's personnel, student and other records which are not
required to be disclosed to the public under the Act. The Act permits
confidentiality but does not require it with respect to personnel,
student and other records exempt from required disclosure. Further,
permitting the designees access to such records would not violate the
Privacy Protection Act, since disclosure of the records in question
is not prohibited by other laws. See Opinion to the Honorable Elise
B. Heinz, Member, House of Delegates, dated December 20 1 978 found
in Report of the
Attorney General 1978-1979 at 317.
Accordingly, I am of the opinion that the school board can legally
permit board designees who have not taken office access to executive
meetings and the records you describe.