UNION — The school board’s actions were called into question by local media during Monday’s meeting.
Following the Union County Board of School Trustees’ second executive session Monday evening, board chair B.J. McMorris announced the county’s terms for rental of facilities for sports. The terms of the one-year agreement were $60,000 for the use of Union County Stadium, $10,000 for use of Timken Sports Complex, and no charge for use of the South Hills Complex. These terms only differ from last year’s agreement in that there is a flat fee for Timken Sports Complex, rather than a split of the gate.
McMorris then announced the board was in agreement with those terms.
At that time, Mike Stevens of WBCU Radio protested, saying the executive session taken by the board was illegal due to the fact that it was taken to discuss an agreement between two governmental entities, involving public money on both sides.
Following Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall said the executive session was not illegal, citing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Section 30-4-70 (a)(2), which provides that a public body may go into executive session for “discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements.”
Woodall also said the district was advised by its attorney that the board’s discussion in executive session did not violate FOIA.
“The statute makes no distinction between discussion of proposed contractual arrangements with another governmental entity and discussion of proposed contractual arrangements with a private or non-governmental entity,” Woodall said.
South Carolina Press Association Executive Director said although the law is not well written in this particular area, he believes Monday night’s executive session was within the law. He also quoted FOIA Section 30-4-70 (a)(2).
“To me, this would mean one body meeting among itself to discuss negotiation points,” he said.
Once the school board’s agreement to the draft is accepted by the county, the contractual agreement can be made official.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.