Patching Media Leaks

By Nora Carr

Whether due to true philosophical differences about how and when public business is conducted, political divisions, or simply pique, keeping closed-session matters private is a challenge for many school boards.

So, while public school law typically allows school officials to handle personnel matters behind closed doors, superintendent candidates rightly fear that merely applying for a new job will damage their relationship with their current bosses.

Media leaks are so prevalent during superintendent searches that many -- if not most -- candidates simply view them as inevitable. This lack of confidentiality drives search consultants crazy, however, because leaks can damage negotiations and have cost more than one school board access to top candidates.

Ideally, school boards act as one and follow the same rules when handling sensitive matters. When this isn’t possible or practical, developing a leak strategy is essential.

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