Ohio’s Open Meetings Act was enacted in 1975 as Ohio Revised Code Section (RC) 121.22. It, together with the Public Records Act (RC 149.43), is commonly referred to as “the Sunshine law.”

The Open Meetings Act’s basic purpose is to require public bodies, including boards of education to:

  1. Hold public meetings, except where private meetings are specifically authorized by law;
  2. Provide notices of when those meetings will occur; and
  3. Keep minutes of those meetings.

The Public Records Act provides requirements for how public records may be requested, excludes certain records from disclosure and provides for enforcement of its requirements when a public office improperly denies a request.

Since their enactment, the Sunshine Laws have been a continuing source of inquiry and litigation for boards of education. They also have been the subject of numerous court decisions and opinions of the Ohio Attorney General (OAG) and have frequently been revised by the Ohio General Assembly.

OSBA’s legal division offers a variety of resources to help school board members understand their responsibilities under the Sunshine Laws. These resources include:

OAG announced yesterday that it released the 2017 edition of Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual, along with a complete update to the online Sunshine Law training. Training on the Ohio Public Records Act is required for school board members or their designees at least once per elected term, and completion of the OAG’s online training lessons is one way board members or their designees may satisfy this legal obligation.

If you have general questions about Ohio’s Sunshine Laws, please contact OSBA’s division of legal services.

Posted by Sara Clark on 3/15/2017