OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – The Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office has declined to issue a case against the Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education after a complaint was filed alleging the district violated the Open Meetings Law during its August 25 in-person board meeting.
According to the complainant, identified as Kristine Walsh, a Neenah resident and OASD parent, the Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education and its members allegedly violated the Open Meetings Law by “meeting illegally in closed session on August 25, 2021, entering a closed session without the proper procedure and for purposes permitted by law.”
Back on August 25, OASD board members met for their regularly scheduled in-person meeting. However, before the meeting was officially called to order, disruptions ensued from attendees, some of whom refused to follow the districts.
“We had some people that came in with signs and then began essentially to be disruptive, part of that was not following our local protocols of wearing masks inside of our school buildings,” Superintendent Bryan Davis explained.
The disruption then prompted board members to leave the board room and enter the superintendent’s office to “remove themselves from a potentially volatile and unsafe situation.” OASD states that while in the superintendent’s office, board members kept the doors open and did not discuss school business.
According to OASD, at that point, both the Board President and Superintendent separated themselves from the rest of the Board and consulted with the District’s legal counsel and the Oshkosh Police Department before Board President Bob Poeschl made the decision to postpone the meeting and reschedule it to take place virtually on August 30.
Following this incident, an open meetings law complaint was filed by the Wisconsin Transparency Project to the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office. And after reviewing the complaint, the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office decided not to issue a case.
On behalf of the OASD, Board President Bob Poeschl announced Friday that they are “committed to compliance with the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law and ensuring that the public’s rights are respected…The engagement of OASD stakeholders and community members is critical and the Board of Education looks forward to continuing to work together to put Oshkosh students first.”