OPEN MEETINGS -- Confronted with its neglect in December to collect the tax needed to make a $5.3 million bond payment this coming September, the board of the Gilroy Unified School District retreated into closed session to discuss the error and what to do about it, reports the Gilroy Dispatch.

Superintendent Deborah Flores and
trustees discussed the issue at a closed session meeting Feb. 5,
trustees said. That meeting, closed to the public, came under fire from
Tom Newton, a leading California First Amendment attorney.

"Here's
a situation where they've become aware of a $6 million problem and
they've never had a public discussion about it," Newton said. "If so,
then there's a strong indication that they've had that discussion in
private, which is a violation of the Brown Act." The Brown Act
governs open meetings in California and requires, other than a few
narrow exceptions, that the public's business to be conducted in open
session.

GUSD Trustees Francisco Dominguez and Mark Good
acknowledged the discussion took place behind closed doors, but Flores
declined to confirm that. She said the item was not discussed in open
session because the district found out after it was too late to add the
item to a public meeting agenda.

"It was not on the public agenda because we're still working through what happens next and how to correct it," Flores said. However,
the item was not listed on the agenda for the next open session
meeting, which was available at the district's Web site Thursday night.