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DM school superintendent candidate James Browder
DM school superintendent candidate James Browder: Des Moines school superintendent candidate James Browder interviews for the position. Browder was Lee County's superintendent for several years.
Des Moines public schools superintendent candidate James Browder, left, visits with folks attending an open reception held Wednesday evening at the Central Library in downtown Des Moines. / Gannett

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The Des Moines school board cannot legally meet in closed session again until Friday, according to an open meetings expert.

The board stayed in closed session until just after 11 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the selection of a new school superintendent. Former Lee County Superintendent James Browder is among those in the running.

Board members left the building without going back into open session.

“If they recess for more than four hours, they have to post a new notice and a new agenda,” said Kathleen Richardson, a Drake professor and member of the Iowa Public Information Board.

The provision, which applies to both open and closed meetings, was added to Iowa Code two years ago, Richardson said.

All meetings of governmental bodies require 24-hour notice, meaning the earliest the board will be able to legally reconvene is Friday.

According to Iowa’s law: “A governmental body shall give notice of the time, date, and place of each meeting including a reconvened meeting of the governmental body, and the tentative agenda of the meeting, in a manner reasonably calculated to apprise the public of that information.”

The law goes on to state that meetings can only be reconvened without such actions if the recess is four hours or shorter.

School board president Dick Murphy said the board planned to post notice of the meeting later today.

The board will reconvene on noon Friday at Central Campus to discuss the selection of the district's next superintendent, he said.

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