Q: What is the legal procedure for an Illinois School district to purchase Real Property (Real Estate)?

I understand they can meet in closed session to discuss the purchase but can they pay over appraisal and take action without having it discussed in a public meeting or on an agenda?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Illinois, school districts are allowed to meet in closed sessions to discuss matters related to the purchase of real estate to ensure privacy during the negotiation process. However, any decision to purchase real estate, including the agreement on price, must be made in an open session during a public meeting. This is in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act, which aims to ensure transparency and public access to government decision-making.

While a school district can discuss potential real estate transactions in private, the actual decision to buy property and the terms of the purchase, including the price, must be disclosed and approved in a public setting. This ensures that community members have a chance to hear about and respond to proposed expenditures or actions that may affect them. Paying over the appraised value is a decision that would require careful consideration and public justification, as it involves the use of public funds.

It is important for school districts to follow these legal requirements to maintain transparency and public trust. If you believe that a school district is not adhering to these procedures, you may consider attending school board meetings, voicing your concerns, or consulting with a legal advisor to understand more about your rights and the legal obligations of the school district.

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