Q: I heard that there were some new rules that came out of the 86th Legislature concerning website posting. Is that true?
A: Yes! The 2019 legislative session added new statutory language providing requirements for posting data to district websites, including importantly, trustee information.
House Bill 963 added Texas Education Code section 11.1518 to require school districts that maintain websites to post certain information regarding its board of trustees, including:
· All trustee names;
· All trustee email addresses; and
· The term dates for all trustees (including the date the trustees term began and the date the trustees term expires; note: “term” means the current term the trustee is serving, regardless of when they first took office as a trustee).
If a school district does not maintain a website, the school district is still required to submit the information noted above to the TEA for posting on the TEA website. School districts are required to update this information on the applicable website each time there is a change in the membership of the school district’s board of trustees.
Regarding trustee email addresses, as a practical matter, we suggest all trustees operate with a district email address as opposed to the trustee’s personal email address. Senate Bill 944 adds a new definition of what it means to be a temporary custodian as well as requirements regarding record preservation, retention, and disposition of public information – including trustee emails. To ensure emails are properly maintained by the district and its public information officer, and to limit the creation of temporary custodians, trustees should be provided with district email accounts, with those addresses posted on the website. While these district emails will still have to comply with the new code language provided by Senate Bill 944, district emails saved to the district server and monitored by the public information officer are easier to manage and maintain than each individual trustee’s personal email account.
For more information regarding all required internet website postings for all districts, visit TASB at: https://www.tasb.org/services/legal-services/tasb-school-law-esource/business/ documents/sch-dist-and-campus-website-charts.pdf
If you have any questions regarding your district’s website or trustee’s emails, we recommend contacting your local school attorney.