Belcourt School Board did not violate open meeting laws

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has ruled that the Belcourt School Board did not violate the state’s open meeting laws when conducting a survey of district Superintendent Dr. Lana DeCoteau in March.

The board held a survey of DeCoteau’s performance, and she was subsequently suspended a month later.

According to the Attorney General’s ruling, the members of the board filled out individual surveys of DeCoteau, though the board members denied discussing the matter with one another outside of a special meeting.

Stenehjem rules that act of filling out surveys did not violate meeting laws since it did not constitute a quorum.

The school board came under financial scrutiny, which led to a state-run audit, spurred by public petition.

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-ND, took executive action and suspended two members of the board on charges they interfered with the audit.

DeCoteau was reinstated in early June shortly after the school board election results, and the reasons for her suspension were never made public.

Link to AG ruling: https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/sites/ag/files/documents/Opinions/2019/OR-OM/2019-O-11.pdf