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June 13, 2024

Mattoon School Board’s Dale Righter, Michelle Skinlo Must Apologize For False Accusations –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 13, 2022

Mattoon, IL. (ECWd) –

Board members Dale Righter and Michelle Skinlo must publicly apologize for their unprofessional and false accusations against a fellow board member.

During the October board of education meeting, Board President Michelle Skinlo and member Dale Righter both falsely accused a fellow board member, Heidi Larson, of violating the Open Meetings Act for an email she sent to two other board members and the superintendent wanting an item placed on the agenda.

Those false accusations placed her in a false light amongst residents and constituents, and in our opinion, was simply an attempt at intimidating her into silence spearheaded by Dale Righter, who should have known better.

Tonight’s meeting agenda includes a vote on releasing the “confidential opinion” written by the board’s attorney in reference to the allegation of OMA violations. This opinion needs to be released as the public should have a right to know what their school district and its attorney are doing, and to see for themselves if the accusations were supported by facts or more falsities.

In the meantime, a citizen lodged a request for review to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor alleging a violation of the Open Meetings Act with the email referenced by Skinlo and Righter.

The AG PAC responded, by basically stating there is nothing to look at because there did not appear to be any violation of the OMA.

The PAC continued by stating there must have been contemporaneous interactive communication (the same words I quoted multiple times during public comment at the Nov meeting), and there was no apparent contemporaneous interactive communication with the email in question.

The PAC summarily closed the review, as they should have, without further investigation.

The information you provided does not reflect contemporaneous interactive communications among a majority of a quorum of the Board and, therefore, does not suggest that the Board held an improper private “meeting” subject to OMA.”

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