Remote option may come for school boards

Roberts’ bill clears Colo. Senate

Roberts Enlarge photo

Roberts

DENVER – School board members would be able to participate in their meetings by phone or video conference under a bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday.

Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, sponsored Senate Bill 15 after getting a request from schools in San Miguel County.

It’s especially important for districts in rural Colorado, she said.

“There are times we will have bad road conditions, perhaps travel related to a job, that make it impossible to get back to the school board meeting,” Roberts said.

Durango School District 9-R already has a policy allowing remote participation, and that policy was used to write the bill, Roberts said.

The bill also allows school-board members to participate by phone or video in a closed-door session for reasons already allowed by law, such as contract negotiations or hearing legal advice.

Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, supported the bill, but with some hesitation.

“I think it needs to be kept at a minimum because the public expects to be able to interact with that board member in person,” Hudak said in a debate last Friday.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the House.

jhanel@durangoherald.com