Brown Act Rules for Non-Profits
Q: As a public non profit corporation that’s primary purpose is to support the public elementary school are we required to comply with the Brown Act? Does having the Principal of the school on the executive board have any bearing on complying with the Brown Act?
A: Under Government Code section 54952(c), the governing body of a non-profit organization would be subject to the Brown Act under either of two circumstances:
1. The nonprofit is created by an elected legislative body in order to exercise authority that may lawfully be delegated by the elected governing body;
– OR –
2. The organization (a) receives funds from a local agency (e.g., a county, city, town, etc) AND (b) the membership of the governing body of the nonprofit includes a member of the legislative body of the local agency (e.g., if the local agency is a city, a member of the city council) whom the legislative body appoints to the governing board of the nonprofit as a full voting member.
Thus, the non-profit you reference would be subject to the Brown Act if either (1) it was created by another body subject to the Brown Act (such as the school district board) to exercise authority that may lawfully be delegated by the local agency to a private entity, or (2) it receives funds from a local agency subject to the Brown Act (such as the school district) AND at least one voting member of the non-profit’s governing body is a member of the legislative body of the local agency subject to the Brown Act who was appointed to that position by the legislative body of the local agency. Unless the principal is a member of the school district board, his or her presence on the non-profit’s board by itself should not have any bearing.
To the extent the governing board of your non-profit organization is subject to the Brown Act under the provisions explained above, the requirements of the Brown Act would apply anytime a majority of the members of the board congregated at the same time and place to hear, discuss, or deliberate on any items within the subject matter jurisdiction of that body. See Government Code section 54952.2.