Jeffco school board tackles email transparency

From The Complete Colorado:  Jefferson County Board of Education members wrestled with transparency issues at Thursday’s special meeting.

Last night, board attorney Brad Miller led an instructional session with board members on Colorado’s Open Meetings laws and the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), opening the door to possible changes in how board members handle public business on email.

Although most of the presentation was a basic discussion about how many members constitutes a meeting, reminders about not hitting “reply all” on an email, and what constitutes an open record, the subject of emails took a different turn.

At issue, first, was how to handle an email that is received in a board member’s personal account and, second, what the laws are around retention of emails.

Under state law, all emails by government officials concerning government business may be subject to CORA — with few exceptions — regardless of if those emails are on a personal account, a work account, or an official’s government account.

While some districts, including Denver Public Schools, do not require emails that could be considered public record to be stored for a specific amount of time, a number of the state’s largest districts do impose such requirements.

Miller recommended that any emails received through a non-Jeffco account be immediately forwarded to their Jeffco accounts and then responded to from there.

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