The hearing officer selected pursuant to section 79-841 shall conduct the hearing referred to in section 79-840, hear and receive evidence, and make recommended findings of fact and conclusions of law. The hearing shall be held in private if the employee so requests, and if the employee does not so request the hearing shall be conducted in public. Within thirty days following the hearing, the hearing officer shall transmit to the school board the original or a certified copy of the record of the hearing which shall include the transcribed testimony from the hearing and the recommended findings of fact and conclusions of law. The certified record filed by the hearing officer shall be the record upon which the school board shall make its decision, and no additional evidence shall be heard by the school board. The school board shall give each party an opportunity for oral argument and briefing prior to making its decision. If a hearing is requested, no one shall contact or be contacted by the school board or individual school board members regarding the subject matter of the hearing in order to obtain or provide information to be considered in making the decision or in an attempt to persuade the school board regarding the decision to be made, except that the school board may receive advice and counsel from an attorney hired to represent the school board in making the decision. In making its decision, the school board shall give weight to the findings of fact of the hearing officer but shall not be bound by them. The school board shall make its decision within twenty days after receipt of the record from the hearing officer. All expenses and fees of the hearing officer in connection with the hearing shall be paid by the school board.