Judge Hears Arguments in Case Against School District

Attorneys for the Sheridan newspaper and Sheridan County School District 2 presented arguments before District Court Judge William J. Edelman Wednesday morning on the newspaper's claim that the school district has violated state open meetings laws.

After nearly an hour, the judge called for recess, saying he would issue an order “shortly” on the matter.

The newspaper filed a petition asking the Fourth Judicial District Court to examine executive session minutes of the school district to determine whether district trustees violated statutes by conducting closed sessions to discuss a possible multipurpose facility. Attorney Bruce Moats said the newspaper management was concerned about whether discussions were appropriate for an executive session, which is closed to the public, and why nothing was made public until the school board chairman mentioned the facility in a public, but not a school board, meeting.

The school district's attorney, Kendal Hoopes, said a proposal for a facility was in fact made public in open meetings of the school board in 2013. He said the board discussed plans “extensively” in open session and held a public hearing in 2013. He said the reason the board had no later discussions in open session was that the proposal has never reached the “project” stage for the district. He said no decisions have been made on whether the facility would be built adjacent to Sheridan High School or somewhere else, and nothing has been decided on what its purpose would be.

He said the district has never taken action in an executive session, and there is no project nor any plans moving forward. Stay tuned to Sheridan Media for the update.

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