Adoption Date: 10/5/1972, Revised: 4/24/2002
B - Board Governance and Operations

BA Methods of Operation

Methods of Operation

All action of the school committee shall be taken only in official school committee meetings called, scheduled and conducted according to these bylaws and the statutes of the Commonwealth.

All powers of the school committee are derived from state laws and are granted in terms of action as a group. Therefore, members of the school committee will have authority only when acting as a committee legally in session.
Effective school committee members will
1. Realize that they serve all the people of the district.
2. Base all their decisions and actions on what is best educationally for the children of the district.
3. Study and analyze all materials presented and discuss the issues at school committee meetings in order to make rational decisions.
4. Realize the importance of the need for privileged communication from the administration so that the administration feels comfortable to speak candidly and freely concerning matters upon which the committee must make a final decision.
5. Hold inviolate the oral discussion and written reports made by the superintendent and administration in any executive session of the committee, realizing that, otherwise, the effective relations of the administration with staff and citizens cannot be such that they are beneficial to the operations of the district.
6. Only request detailed study or analysis of any particular problem when they choose to place that item on the committee agenda for consideration of the whole committee, thus not putting the administration in the position of studying any particular aspects of concern of individual members, but rather have analysis and recommendations come forth at the request of the entire committee by vote.
7. Exercise the right and responsibility to explore all problems concerning the operation of the district, leading to an understanding and discussion of any issue and a vote based on their understanding and principles. However, it is realized that the effective committee, operating democratically, depends on members to unite and support a vote of the majority.
8. Realize that the responsibility of the committee is to vote to establish policy for the operation of the district and that establishment of policy normally requires administratively constructed regulations in order to effectively execute policy.
9. Realize that under the legal structure they are members of a committee that has broad and all-encompassing authority when they meet as a committee. Individual members may assist or cooperate in establishing policy affecting the lives of the students, but, as individual members, they hold no authority. Thus members must be careful in all instances to qualify their statements and actions and make it fully understood when they are speaking as individual members and not as committee members.
10. Accept service on subcommittees and other special committees willingly, but with the knowledge that such special committees operate solely as fact-finding groups and that actions of any special committee are bound to be ineffective until a vote or approval of the full committee is gained. Members of such committees realize that the nine points mentioned about are applicable to them as members of such special committees.
School committee members, individually and collectively, act as representatives of the residents of the school district in maintaining and promoting schools. Through various means for listening, discussing, and weighing education-related issues among themselves, school employees, pupils, parents, and other residents, they seek to move toward decisions and actions which will best serve the educational needs of pupils in the light of available resources and the often conflicting needs and demands of all interested individuals and groups.

The only mechanism for official action by school committee members is a duly called and legally conducted meeting as defined by law and these policies (8000 series) and bylaws (9000 series). Consequently, preparation for, conduct of, and action following school committee meetings, become matters of crucial concern for the welfare of our schools.

The primary focus of school committee meetings must be three-fold:

1. Assurance of adequate opportunities for discussion and deliberation among all interested parties to enable the school committee to arrive at sound decisions.

2. Decision-making, primarily in the light of school committee-adopted policies, with responsibility for administrative regulations and action delegated to the superintendent and his staff.

3. Review of results through the monitoring of reports to enable the school committee to exercise its leadership role effectively in guiding the school district.

Adopted October 5, 1972
Amended April 24, 2002