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District Policy May Define News Media

DALLAS -- The Dallas School Board is looking into a policy defining what news organizations can have reporters present during board executive sessions.

DALLAS -- The Dallas School Board is looking into a policy defining what news organizations can have reporters present during board executive sessions.

Board Chairman Michael Blanchard said the issue stems from the rising popularity of blogs and whether bloggers should be considered journalists eligible to attend closed meetings.

The governing boards of cities, school districts and local governments are allowed to meet behind closed doors to address certain topics defined by Oregon law, such as personnel issues, labor negotiations and the buying and selling of property.

Members of the media are allowed to be present during most executive sessions, but not allowed to report on the content of closed meetings. Government bodies are not allowed to take action during closed sessions.

At Monday's board meeting, Superintendent Christy Perry said no other school districts in the area have adopted policies creating a standard for what media organizations are allowed in executive sessions. She said the district should take more time to look into the issue before taking action on a policy.

In January, the board reviewed a sample policy which defined recognized media organizations and outlined methods in which journalists should use to identify themselves as part of a recognized organization.

No action was taken, but the board will discuss the issue further at a future board meeting.

In other business during Monday's meeting, the board:

* Appointed Pat Flanagan and Cindy Hoskisson to the district's budget committee.

The committee will begin meeting at the end of April and its last meeting is scheduled at the end of May. A budget hearing to take public comment on the budget approved by the committee is scheduled for June.

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