Just about every school district in the state has probably broken the law recently when going into executive session, Sen. Ray Kost (R-Powell) told school leaders last week in Cody.
He is sponsoring Senate File 32 to ensure that in the future when boards go into executive session to discuss safety strategies that they are fully within their rights to do so.
Sen. Hank Coe (R-Cody) is among the cosponsors of the bill that Kost said shouldn’t have much of a problem passing both chambers, even in a short budget session.
“It’s a simple amendment,” Kost said. “We haven’t seen too much pushback.”
The proposal reads in part: “A governing body of an agency may hold executive sessions not open to the public:
“To consider and conduct safety and security planning for the protection of life and property.”
Current state law reads that school boards may go into executive session to discuss school safety only if the issue has national consequences.
“It opens the door for too much to be put out there when you’re talking technical issues,” Kost said. “Buying Dell computers is not something that needs to be in executive session, but security plans ... that needs to stay executive session. That needs to be allowed in without breaking the law.”
Kost said there’s a wide range of discussion that should be covered, from security plans to information-technology firewalls.
“That’s too technical,” he said. “For somebody that’s wanting to do something, it opens the door.”
The Cody School District has been focusing on security issues over the last few years, from hardening schools by changing entrances and adding shatterproof glass, to approving a policy, later expanded, to allow vetted and trained staff to carry concealed firearms.