How to write school board meeting minutes
School board meeting minutes will become official public record — and they're a key part of ensuring transparency and building community trust. Because this responsibility is so important, recording secretaries must be comprehensive and accurate in their documentation. Keeping thorough, organized meeting minutes can seem daunting, but a strategic approach to documentation can help you manage it seamlessly.
The Key Elements of Effective Meeting Minutes
There are a few fundamental points that should be present in every meeting’s minutes. Even when a recording secretary is unsure of how to write minutes of a meeting, having a basic understanding of the essential information that should be included can be extremely helpful.
Remember to cover these key details:
- Date of the meeting: Start with this information so it's easy to reference this specific meeting in the future.
- Time the meeting was called to order: This is essential to record and acknowledge that a quorum was present and the presiding board member has opened the meeting.
- Names of the meeting participants and absentees: Ensure everyone knows who was present for future reference.
- Corrections and amendments to previous meeting minutes: The draft minutes from the previous meeting should be made available to all present parties to review and approve. This is an opportunity to make any corrections to the minutes for the previous meeting.
- Additions to the current agenda: This may vary by district or state; some policies or regulations do not allow for business to be added to an agenda at the meeting.
- Any results of voting, as well as motions or seconds made: Board management software allows for votes to be tracked in real time through the software. Electronic voting options are also available.
- Actions taken or actions that need to be taken: Identify any items that require steps to be taken after the meeting.
- Items that were held over or unfinished business: This may vary by state; in some states, every agenda item must be addressed and there cannot be any unfinished business.
- New business: This is typically only used for board members to bring up items to place on a future agenda. For most states, the public should always be made aware of new business items.
- Open discussion or public participation: Note any ways that public attendees participated in the meeting.
- Next meeting date and time: Provide any necessary details on the next meeting for reference.
- Time of adjournment: The presiding officer can remind others of the next meeting or events, review any assigned tasks or business, and then adjourn the meeting.
Once you've ensured you've taken thorough notes, you'll also want to consider how you'll distribute them to everyone at the next meeting. Having to distribute and read minutes during the meeting can take up valuable time; however, using a board portal can make it easier to access previous meeting minutes for review.
How Do You Write School Board Meeting Minutes?
As you write, keep in mind that providing accurate documentation is vital to ensure your community can access key information.
For each agenda item, write a brief, concise statement for each action that is taken by the board, with a short explanation that provides the rationale for the school board’s decision. If there are any lengthy discussions, write a brief summary of the major arguments or points.
Be mindful of the tone you use as you record school board meeting minutes. How you describe the conversations and discussions during a school board meeting is as important as making sure that all of the materials and information from the meeting agenda is included. Meeting minutes will give the local community and others a view of the board’s goals, plans and the work already being done.
It is important to write minutes of a meeting without bias or partiality. Conversations or arguments that occur at the school board meeting should be recorded objectively. The recording secretary should avoid any remarks or personal observations that could be seen as subjective or prejudiced. It should be routine to review the school board meeting minutes, checking the tone and ensuring it is clear and complete.
With a school board management software, your school board meeting minutes can be easily tracked and adjusted as needed.
How Technology Can Help Keep Your School Board Documentation Organized
Without proper organization for meeting minutes and related materials, managing your documentation can become much more time-consuming than it needs to be.
Creating school board meeting minutes after the board meeting can be a painstaking and lengthy process, especially if you have a significant amount of information that must be documented for the official record. With technology purpose-built for organizations like yours, however, you can get the right tools for improved transparency and easier records management. Automated production of your school board’s meeting minutes documentation using a school board management software can save time and improve the accuracy of details and information.
Paperless and cloud-based software like Diligent Community can allow your school board to utilize both automated and manual capabilities to produce meeting minutes. You'll then be able to easily present those minutes for approval at future meetings, helping save time and effort.
Making Documentation Searchable
School board meetings might have additional materials distributed to board members or attendees. These documents can be attached to the school board meeting agenda and minutes, and then they can be searchable through the Diligent Community software.
Streamlining Materials Distribution
If the board records meetings through video or audio, the footage of meetings can also be attached to minutes. All of these documents and files can then be easily distributed to board members and other pertinent parties.
Knowing how to write minutes of a meeting is vital to school boards, but an important issue related to meeting minutes is the accessibility of past school board meeting minutes. Access is not just imperative to pleasing the public and maintaining transparency as an official public record. Just as meetings are required to be made public (check your state’s Sunshine Laws for details regarding these requirements), meeting minutes must be made available for public review.
With the right technology, school board minutes can be easily accessed and maintained. Individuals can view the meeting minutes and any documents related to the meeting. The board can also set up customized access settings for the minutes and related materials, so the public view of the meeting minutes may be different than the view for school board members or administrators.
Write School Board Meeting Minutes Seamlessly With the Right Strategy and Tools
School boards are representatives of their community, and the work that they do is important and makes a difference. When school boards and their recording secretaries maintain well-documented, organized and efficient school board meeting minutes, while also making those minutes easily accessible, it can encourage a culture of transparency and trust within the local community.
Many boards find that leveraging effective digital tools makes recording and having access to school board meeting minutes easy and efficient, which ultimately improves the performance of the school board. Learning how to write minutes of a meeting for a school board, then managing and maintaining those minutes is a serious task, but utilizing the right tool can make the responsibility lighter.
Learn more about how Diligent Community can help streamline your process for managing school board meeting minutes.