Public Notice and Agendas
In response to the state Supreme Court’s ruling in Lambries v. Saluda County Council, the Freedom of Information Act, S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80, was amended in 2015 to require a written public notice and agenda for all meetings of appointed public bodies. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 5-7-250, 30-4-80(a)
This notice requirement applies to meetings of a quorum of school board or its appointed public bodies regardless of the name used to describe the meeting, including any special, called or rescheduled meeting. A copy of the public notice and an agenda must be sent to individuals, news media and organizations requesting notification of meetings.
For all regularly scheduled meetings, public bodies must give written public notice at the beginning of each calendar year. The annual meeting notice must include the dates, times and places of all regularly scheduled meetings pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80(a) and (d). An agenda for regularly scheduled meetings must be posted on a bulletin board in a publicly accessible place at the office or meeting place of the public body and on the municipal website, if the municipality has a website, at least 24 hours prior to such meeting.
For any special, called or rescheduled meeting, a public notice, including an agenda containing the date, time and place of the meeting, must be posted as early as is practicable, but no later than 24 hours before the meeting, on a bulletin board in a publicly accessible place at the office or meeting place of the public body and on the district’s website.
If an unforeseen situation arises that requires immediate action, the board members may call an emergency meeting. The school district should hold emergency meetings only if there is a crisis and council must act with a sense of urgency (e.g., a natural or man-made disaster). The board and its appointed public bodies must exercise great caution when calling emergency meetings because they are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act’s public notice and agenda requirements for public bodies.