October 31, 2014

Board updates policies that govern meetings

Until very recently, USD 231 board of education policies, stored in a three-ring binder, could only be viewed in the district administrative offices. As they are updated, some policies are available online, but only after school board members have approved them. Photo courtesy of Debbie Hickman
Until very recently, USD 231 board of education policies, stored in a three-ring binder, could only be viewed in the district administrative offices. As they are updated, some policies are available online, but only after school board members have approved them. Photo courtesy of Debbie Hickman

Until very recently, USD 231 board of education policies, stored in a three-ring binder, could only be viewed in the district administrative offices. As they are updated, some policies are available online, but only after school board members have approved them. Photo courtesy of Debbie Hickman

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
School board members adopted changes to the policy that governs the school board, known as “Board Policy 1000 Board of Education.”
The previous policy was only viewable during business hours via a printed book in the administration office. However, the new policy was made available online after board members approved it on April 15.
The policy outlines the number of board members that make a quorum, four; the duties of the board president; and board member duties and responsibilities.
It also outlines conduct for the board.
For example, one section reads: “Board members shall not publicly express individual negative judgments regarding the performance of the superintendent or other staff of the district… Any request for information by a board member must be directed to the superintendent, who will then determine which employee of the district is best suited to provide that information.”
The recently adopted policy also addresses duties of board members including:
• Clearly presenting his/her position on each topic under discussion, actively listening to the positions of others and working to build consensus;
• Making decisions that are in conformity with the policies and strategic plan adopted by the board; and
• Answering patron questions, subject to the limitations set forth elsewhere in these policies.

Until recently, the school board policies could only be viewed by visiting the board offices and requesting the policy book, pictured above. Photo courtesy of Debbie Hickman

Until recently, the school board policies could only be viewed by visiting the board offices and requesting the policy book, pictured above. Photo courtesy of Debbie Hickman

The policy also limits a board member from addressing the public or the press except to reiterate and reinforce actions taken by the board as a whole, and prohibits the use of cameras, photographic lights and recording devices at board meetings without approval from the board president.
Those wishing to speak at board meetings must complete a speaker registration card to the clerk of the board prior to the meeting, according to the policy.
“When a person addresses the board, the person’s name, address, their children’s school affiliation and, if speaking for a group, the name of the group must be identified,” the policy reads. “…Language spoken during open forum should be professional, concise and respectful to all members of the audience.”
The full policy can now be viewed on the USD 231 website at LINK.

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