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East Penn Board Member 'Phones it In'

East Penn School Director Alan Earnshaw attends Monday night's reorganization meeting via Skype.

Usually, board reorganization meetings are pretty cut and dried. Dull even.

Leave it to the East Penn Board of School Directors to find a way to spice up the traditional annual process by which new officers are elected to the board and deliver a little lesson in technology tools in the process.

Last night, all nine board members were counted as "present," although only eight of them were actually in the room.

Board member Alan Earnshaw attended the meeting from Tokyo, Japan, via Skype and voted using text messages. And he was elected vice president to boot.

Highlights of the reorganization meeting include:

  • Charles Ballard, a board member for 17 years, was elected to his third term as president.  “I appreciate the opportunity to serve you again,” he said.
  • Earnshaw was voted vice president.  Ballard congratulated Earnshaw’s “long-distance” election.
  • Meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the board room at the administration building on the second and fourth Monday of each month unless advertised otherwise.
Carl Stevenson December 04, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Is that legal? I know it's possible, but, again, is it legal?
ted.dobracki December 05, 2012 at 12:36 AM
It doesn't appear that EPSD has a policy, but I found another school district's policy and a separate legal website that both cite the same legal case, which seems to be the settled law that allows teleconferencing into a public agency meeting: "The Sunshine Act, 65 P.S. Sec 701, et seq, has been interpreted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Babac vs. Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board 613 A.2d 551 (Pa. 1992) to permit a member of a governing body of a public agency to participate in public meetings, including deliberations and voting on official actions, by use of a telephone conferencing system." @http://www.tyrone.k12.pa.us/board/policy/documents/006.1%20Use%20of%20Tele-Video%20Conferencing.pdf and, "Agency members may participate in a meeting by telephone or video conference, and remote members count towards a quorum. See Babac v. Penn. Milk Marketing Bd., 613 A.2d 551 (Pa. 1992)." @http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/pennsylvania/open-meetings-laws-pennsylvania

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