HARVARD -- Chairman Stuart "Stu" Sklar announced in the commentary portion of the School Committee meeting that the district attorney's office was investigating whether his committee violated the Open Meeting Law on Sept. 18.

Sklar explained that Vice Chairman Virginia Justicz held a "coffee" at her home to receive public input regarding the not-yet-approved contract extension for Superintendent Thomas Jefferson.

Sklar was at Justicz's house on the night in question, as was School Committee member Patty Wenger, resulting in a quorum of the five-member committee.

"I was very careful to not speak to Patty when I was there," Sklar said. "And if I remember correctly, Patty didn't speak at all."

The Open Meeting Law applies to "every meeting of a quorum of a governmental body if any public business over which the governmental body has jurisdiction is discussed or considered."

The purpose of the "coffee" was to collect public input, Sklar said. The public input collected at that meeting, however, was never made public in any of the School Committee's posted meetings after the meeting in question.

Sklar said he feels the committee did not violate the Open Meeting Law because committee members did not speak to each other.

The Open Meeting Laws notes "when a committee interviewed candidates for employment, in closed session, the law applied even though the members did not converse among themselves but merely questioned the candidates.


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The Supreme Judicial Court held that such interviews constituted 'deliberation' under the law."

Regardless of whether or not the School Committee members spoke to each other, the "coffee" was a meeting to discuss public business over which the School Committee has jurisdiction. -- Gayle Simone