The Lompoc Unified school board violated the Brown Act in its late 2020 meetings, according to a letter the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office sent to the board Feb. 2.
The Brown Act is a California law requiring governmental bodies to conduct business publicly and give proper notice of meetings.
The letter says the board violated the law when members discussed topics not on meetings’ agendas. The district attorney’s office also received reports of board members communicating via text message and email about items within the board’s scope.
Deputy District Attorney Casey Nelson reviewed six meetings and found “several instances” of discussions not permitted in the agenda.
He pointed out Sept. 22’s special meeting, when the agenda called for a discussion of whether the district would apply for a reopening waiver. Board members had a “wide-ranging discussion on the criteria for reopening schools,” the letter says. The Sept. 22 meeting minutes do not detail the board’s comments.
The letter serves as a warning. Criminal charges are only raised in “extreme cases.”
Mr. Nelson receives an average of one Brown Act complaint each month, and they often result in a warning letter.
When the News-Press contacted board members about the letter, board member Janet Blevins responded: “Our board does not commit Brown Act violations.”