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Open Government Rules Every School Trustee Must Know

School trustees are expected to understand open government laws. Find out more about the OMA and PIA and required training.

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As governmental bodies, school boards in Texas are required to know what the laws are concerning transparency. School board members must be well informed about the Texas Open Meetings Act and the Texas Public Information Act.

What Is the Open Meetings Act (OMA)?

The OMA requires that meetings of governmental bodies be open to the public (except for expressly authorized closed sessions). The Act ensures that citizens have timely notice of, access to, and are informed about the business conducted by governmental bodies. (Chapter 551 of the Texas Government Code)

A school board member must be aware of the many rules and definitions regarding the OMA, so training on this subject is mandatory.

What Is the OMA Training Requirement?

New trustees must attend one to two hours of OMA training in their first 90 days of service on the board (per Tex. Gov’t Code section 551.005). The training must be from a source approved by the Texas attorney general.

More Information on the OMA

  • TASB’s School Law eSource lists OMA resources from TASB, the Texas Attorney General, Texas Department of Information Resources, and Robert’s Rules of Order in one place for your convenience.
  • The TASB Online Learning Center offers online OMA training that is customized for board members.
  • In-person TASB events, such as Legal Seminars, Governance Camp, and Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), often offer OMA training. Check the TASB events calendar for upcoming training.

What Is the Public Information Act (PIA)?

The PIA governs a public citizen’s right to request access to information of governmental entities and outlines the rights, obligations, and procedures of governmental entities, including school districts, and of information requestors.

Your school district is required by the PIA to disclose requested information (except as otherwise expressly provided by law) because citizens are generally entitled to complete information about the affairs of government and official acts of public officials and employees. (Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code)

What Is the PIA Training Requirement?

Board member training on the PIA is recommended but is not required if the district has delegated responsibility for the training to the superintendent or other administrator in TASB Policy BBD(LOCAL).

More Information on the PIA

Because the attorney general is required to maintain uniformity in the application, operation, and interpretation of the PIA, the Office of the Attorney General is the primary source of information about the Act. There are many resources available:

You can also visit TASB’s School Law eSource for TASB resources on the PIA.