SHELTON — The Board of Education has acknowledged that it violated state Freedom of Information rules at its Nov. 20 meeting and that it will do better.

The acknowledgment and agreement to get a lesson in the FOI law was part of a compromise worked out between the school board and the Shelton Democratic Town Committee after the DTC filed a complaint with the state Freedom of Information Commission.

In return for the board’s acceptance of fault, the DTC agreed to drop its complaint. The school board agreed to the compromise Feb. 18.

“What they approved is what I had suggested to the ombudsman last week,” said Shelton DTC head David Gioiello. “I’m not sure why he hadn’t reached out to the Board of Education attorney regarding our offer to settle, admission they violated the FOIA rules and agreeing to attend a training class on FOIA.”

The FOI complaint against the school board was made after the board, in a 5-4 party line vote, decided to hire the city’s corporation counsel, Teodosio Stanek, as its attorney despite the fact Stanek’s department was suing the Board of Education on behalf of the city.

Democrats on the board had wanted to retain the counsel the board had had for years, Chinni & Meuser, in part because it is defending the school board against the city’s suit. Republicans wanted Teodosio Stanek.

The board agreed to keep on Chinni & Meuser to help with the lawsuit but send most of its other legal work to Teodosio Stanek.

The four Democrat Board of Education members — Kate Kutash, Amanda Kilmartin, Diana Meyer and Patti Moonan — also signed the complaint against the school board.

Gioiello said the complaint charged that the board’s first meeting after the November election violated FOI rules by adding items to the agenda and voting on them at the same meeting without proper notification. The agenda for the Nov. 20 meeting did not include hiring a new attorney. The item was added and then approved at the end of the school board meeting.

“That is a violation of the FOI rules,” said Gioiello. “You may add items to a regular agenda, but the items must be approved by two-thirds of the members present (and that was not done).”

In a draft statement to the FOI Commission, the Board of Education acknowledged that, at the Nov. 20 meeting, the motion concerning the city corporation counsel was neither on the agenda prior to the meeting nor added to the agenda during the meeting prior to the vote.

The statement further states that the Board of Education “took action to correct the vote” at a special meeting on Nov. 25. To avoid having to attend a hearing in Hartford over the vote, the board chose to hold a training session with FOI officials.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com