Winooski School District

Fair, and 75 °F | 2017-08-22

Policies

AS APPROVED BY THE WINOOSKI BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES Updated 10/9/13

SECTION I ““ ENDS

All students will graduate from the Winooski School District (WSD) college and career ready at a cost supported by a majority of the Winooski community. WSD students will lead healthy, productive and successful lives and engage with their local and global community.

SECTION II ““ EXECUTIVE LIMITATIONS

Policy Title: 2.0 Global Executive Constraint

The superintendent shall not cause or allow any practice, activity, decision, or organizational circumstance that is unlawful, unsafe, imprudent, or in violation of commonly accepted educational and professional ethics and practices.


Policy Title: 2.1 Treatment of Students, Parents/Guardians and Community

With respect to interactions with Students, Parents/Guardians Community or those applying to be Students, Parents/Guardians and Community, the superintendent shall not cause or allow conditions, procedures, or decisions that are arbitrary or capricious, untimely, unclear, undignified, or unnecessarily intrusive.

Further, without limiting the scope of the foregoing by this enumeration, the superintendent shall not

  1. Elicit information for which there is no clear necessity
  2. Use methods of collecting, reviewing, transmitting, or storing student/family information that fail to protect against improper access to the material elicited
  3. Operate facilities without appropriate accessibility and privacy
  4. Allow Students, Parents/Guardians and Community to be unaware of what may be expected and what may not be expected from the district
  5. Leave Students, Parents/Guardians and Community uninformed in writing of this policy or without away to be heard for persons who believe they have not been accorded a reasonable interpretation of their protections under this policy

    a) Discourage persons who believe they have not been accorded a reasonable interpretation of their protections under policy from airing a complaint and being heard

     


Policy Title: 2.2 Treatment of Staff

With respect to the treatment of paid and volunteer staff, the superintendent shall not:

 

  1. Operate without written personnel rules that (a) clarify rules for staff, (b) provide for effective handling of grievances, and (c) protect against wrongful conditions.

 

a) Permit staff to be uninformed regarding the performance standards by which they will be assessed.

  1. Discriminate against any staff member for nondisruptive expression of dissent
  2. Allow staff to be unprepared for emergency situations
  3. Violate any provisions of any negotiated contract

Policy Title: 2.3 Financial Condition and Activities

With respect to the actual, ongoing financial condition and activities, the superintendent shall not cause or allow the development of financial jeopardy or material deviation of actual expenditures from board priorities established in Ends policies.

Further, without limiting the scope of the foregoing by this enumeration, the superintendent shall not

  1. Expend more funds than have been received in the fiscal year to date.
  2. Expend more funds than have been budgeted.
  3. Spend any surplus revenues.
  4. Use any long-term reserves.
  5. Allow for practices that do not comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures.
  1. Receive, process or disburse the organization’s assets under internal controls that are insufficient to prevent and detect significant deficiencies or material weaknesses.
  2. Operate without internal controls that prevent and ensure against tardy, inaccurate, specious or misleading financial reporting.
  3. Incur debt in an amount greater than can be repaid by certain otherwise unencumbered revenues within sixty days.
  4. Conduct interfund shifting in amounts greater than can be restored to a condition of discrete fund balances by certain otherwise unencumbered revenues within thirty days.
  5. Allow debts to be settled in an untimely manner.
  6. Allow tax payments or other government-ordered payments or filings to be overdue or inaccurately filed.
  7. Allow receivables to be unpursued after a reasonable grace period.
  8. Operate without internal procedures that detect, deter and prevent fraud.
  9. Accept non-resident students unless tuition is being paid by another Vermont school district or the statewith the exception of students exercising board approved school choice programs.

Policy Title: 2.4 Financial Planning and Budgeting

The superintendent shall not cause or allow financial planning/budgeting for any fiscal year or the remaining part of any fiscal year to deviate materially from the board’s Ends priorities, risk financial jeopardy, or fail to be derived from a multiyear plan.

Further, without limiting the scope of the foregoing by this enumeration, there will be no financial plans/budgets that

  1. Risk incurring those situations or conditions described as unacceptable in the board policy “Financial Condition and Activities”
  2. Omit credible [conservative] projection of revenues and expenses, separation of capital and operational items, cash flow, and disclosure of planning assumptions
  3. Provide less for board prerogatives during they earth an is set forth in the Governance Investment Policy
  4. Omit disclosure of anticipated impact(s) of proposed plan/budget on students and taxpayers.

Policy Title: 2.5 Emergency Superintendent Succession

To protect the board from sudden loss of superintendent services, the superintendent shall not permit the administrative team to be unprepared to take over with reasonable proficiency until a successor is found.


Policy Title: 2.6 Asset Protection

The superintendent shall not cause or allow district assets to be unprotected, inadequately maintained, or unnecessarily risked.

Further, without limiting the scope of the foregoing by this enumeration, the superintendent shall not

  1. Allow board members, staff and the organization itself to be inadequately insured against theft and casualty losses to at least 80 percent of replacement value and against liability in an amount at least equal to the average for comparable organizations.
  2. Allow uninsured personnel access to material amounts of funds
  3. Subject facilities and equipment to improper wear and tear or insufficient maintenance.
  4. Unnecessarily expose the organization, its board, or its staff to claims of liability.
  5. Make any purchase (a) wherein normally prudent protection has not been given against conflict of interest; (b) of over $15,000 without having obtained comparative prices and quality; Orders shall not be split to avoid these criteria.
  6. Allow information, and files to be exposed to loss or significant damage.
  7. Allow for practices that do not comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures.
  8. Compromise the independence of the board’s audit or other external monitoring or advice, such as by engaging parties already chosen by the board as consultants or advisers.
  9. Endanger the organization’s public image, its credibility, or its ability to accomplish Ends.
  10. Close any buildings as public schools.

Policy Title: 2.7 Compensation and Benefits

With respect to employment, compensation, and benefits to non-unionized employees, consultants, contract workers, the superintendent shall not cause or allow jeopardy to financial integrity or to public image.

Further, without limiting the scope of the foregoing by this enumeration, the superintendent shall not

  1. Change the superintendent’s own compensation and benefits.
  2. Promise or imply permanent or guaranteed employment.
  3. Establish or change compensation and benefits that deviate materially from the geographical or professional market for the skills employed.
  4. Create obligations over a longer term than revenues can be safely projected, in no event longer than one year and in all events subject to losses in revenue.
  5. Establish or change pension benefits so as to cause unpredictable or inequitable situations.

Policy Title: 2.8 Communication and Support to the Board

The superintendent shall not cause or allow the board to be uninformed or unsupported in its work.

Further, without limiting the scope of the foregoing by this enumeration, the superintendent shall not

  1. Allow the board to be without adequate information to support informed board choices, including relevant environmental scanning data, a representative range of staff and external points of view, significant issues or changes within the external environment which may have a bearing on any existing board policies, along with alternative choices and their respective implications.
  2. Neglect to submit monitoring data required by the board (see policy 3.4 on monitoring superintendent performance) in a timely, accurate, and understandable fashion, directly addressing the provisions of board policies being monitored
  3. Allow the board to be unaware of any actual or anticipated noncompliance with any Ends or Executive limitations policy, regardless of the board’s monitoring schedule.
  4. Let the board be unaware of any significant incidental information it requires, including anticipated media coverage, threatened or pending lawsuits, and material/publically visible internal and external changes.
  5. Let the board be unaware if, in the superintendent’s opinion, the board is not in compliance with its own policies on Governance Process and Board-Management Delegation, particularly in the case of board behavior that is detrimental to the work relationship between the board and the superintendent
  6. Present information in unnecessarily complex or lengthy form or in a form that fails to differentiate among information of three types: monitoring, decision preparation, and incidental.
  7. Allow the board to be deprived of a workable mechanism for official board, officer, or committee communications
  8. Deal with the board in away that favors or privileges certain board members over others except when responding to officers or committees duly charged by the board.
  9. Allow the board to do its work without the necessary items on its consent agenda. Necessary items are those decisions delegated to the superintendent yet required by law, regulation or contract to be board-approved, along with applicable monitoring information.
  10. Allow the board to be without reasonable administrative support for board activities.
  11. Allow the board to be uninformed of all gifts accepted with an estimated value of more than $500. 12. Allow the board to be unsupported and uninformed in its role as a quasi-judicial hearing body.

SECTION III ““ BOARD- MANAGEMENT DELEGATION

Policy Title: 3.0 Global Governance-Management Connection

The board’s sole official connection to the operational organization, its achievements, and its conduct will be through the superintendent of schools.


Policy Title: 3.1 Unity of Control

Only officially passed motions of the board are binding on the superintendent. Accordingly:

  1. Decisions or instructions of individual board members, officers, or committees are not binding on the superintendent except in rare instances when the board has specifically authorized such exercise of authority.
  2. In the case of board members or committees requesting information or assistance without board authorization, the superintendent can refuse such requests that require, in the superintendent’s opinion, a material amount of staff time or funds or is disruptive.

Policy Title: 3.2 Accountability of the Superintendent

The superintendent is the board’s only link to operational achievement and conduct, so that all authority and accountability of staff, as far as the board is concerned, is considered the authority and accountability of the superintendent. Accordingly:

  1. The board will never give instructions to persons who report directly or indirectly to the superintendent.
  2. The board will not evaluate, either formally or informally, any staff other than the superintendent.
  3. The board will view successful superintendent performance as demonstrated by accomplishment of board-stated Ends and avoidance of board-proscribed means.

Policy Title: 3.3 Delegation to the Superintendent

The board will instruct the superintendent through written policies that prescribe the organizational Ends to be achieved and describe organizational situations and actions to be avoided, allowing the superintendent to use any reasonable interpretation of these policies. Accordingly:

  1. The board will develop policies instructing the superintendent to achieve specified results for specified recipients at a specified cost. These policies will be developed systematically from the broadest, most general level to more defined levels and will be called Ends policies. All issues that are not Ends issues as defined here are means issues.
  2. The board will develop policies that limit the latitude the superintendent may exercise in choosing the organizational means. These policies will be developed systematically from the broadest, most general level to more defined levels, and they will be called Executive Limitations policies. The board will never prescribe organizational means delegated to the superintendent.
  3. As long as the superintendent uses any reasonable interpretation of the board’s Ends and Executive Limitations policies, the superintendent is authorized to establish all further procedures, make all decisions, take all actions, establish all practices, and pursue all activities. Such decisions of the superintendent shall have full force and authority as if decided by the board.
  4. The board may change its Ends and Executive Limitations policies, thereby shifting the boundary between board and superintendent domains. By doing so, the board changes the latitude of choice given to the superintendent. But as long as any particular delegation is in place, the board will respect and support the superintendent’s choices.

Policy Title: 3.4 Monitoring Superintendent Performance

Systematic and rigorous monitoring of superintendent job performance will be solely against the expected superintendent job outputs: organizational accomplishment of board policies on Ends and organizational operation within the boundaries established in board policies on Executive Limitations. Accordingly:

  1. Monitoring is simply to determine the degree to which board policies are being met. Information that does not do this will not be considered to be monitoring information.
  2. The board will acquire monitoring information by one or more of three methods: (a) by internal report,in which the superintendent discloses measurable interpretations including a rationale and compliance information to the board; (b) by external report, in which an external, disinterested third party selected by the board assesses compliance with board policies; or (c) by direct board inspection, in which a designated member or members of the board assess compliance with the appropriate policy criteria.
  3. In every case, the board will judge (a) the reasonableness of the superintendent’s interpretation and (b) whether data demonstrates accomplishment of the interpretation.
  4. In every case, the standard for compliance shall be any reasonable superintendent interpretation of the board policy being monitored. The board is the final arbiter of reasonableness but will always judge with a “reasonable person” test rather than with interpretations favored by board members or by the board as a whole.
  5. All policies that instruct the superintendent will be monitored at a frequency and by a method chosen by the board. The board can monitor any policy at any time by any method but will ordinarily depend on a routine schedule.
  6. A formal evaluation of the superintendent by the board will occur annually by cumulating the regular monitoring data provided during the year and the board’s recorded acceptance or non-acceptance of the reports and identifying performance trends evidenced by that data.
  7. Superintendent remuneration will be decided after the formal evaluation no later than the month of September.

    (a) The superintendent’s salary will be set competitively using data collected and distributed by the Vermont Superintendent’s Association.

     

 

Policy Method Frequency
Ends TBA TBA
Global Executive Constraint Internal Annually
Treatment of Students, Parents/Guardians and Community Internal Annually
Treatment of Staff Internal Annually
Financial Condition
and Activities 2.3.1,
2.3.2, 2.3.3, 2.3.4, 2.3.8, 2.3.9, 2.3.10
Financial Reports
Internal AnnuallyMonthly
Financial Condition and Activities External- Audit Annually
Financial Planning and Budgeting Internal Annually
Emergency Superintendent Succession Internal Annually
Asset Protection Internal Annually
Compensation and Benefits Internal Annually
Communication and Support Internal Annually

SECTION IV ““ GOVERNANCE PROCESS

Policy Title: 4.0 Global Governance Commitment

The purpose of the board, on behalf of the City of Winooski is to see to it the Winooski School District (a) achieves appropriate results for students at an appropriate cost (as specified in board Ends policies) and (b) avoids unacceptable actions and situations (as prohibited in board Executive Limitations policies).


Policy Title: 4.1 Governing Style

The board will govern lawfully, observing the principles of the Policy Governance model, with an emphasis on (a) outward vision rather than an internal preoccupation, (b) encouragement of diversity in viewpoints, (c) strategic leadership more than administrative detail, (d) clear distinction of board and superintendent roles, (e) collective rather than individual decisions, (f) future rather than past or present, and (g) proactively rather than reactive. Accordingly:

  1. The board will cultivate a sense of group responsibility. The board, not the staff, will be responsible for excellence in governing. The board will be the initiator of policy, not merely a reactor to staff initiatives. The board will not use the expertise of individual members to substitute for the judgment of the board, although the expertise of individual members may be used to enhance the understanding of the board as a body.
  2. The board will direct, control, and inspire the organization through the careful establishment of broad written policies reflecting the board’s values and perspectives. The board’s major policy focus will be on the intended long-term impacts outside the staff organization (Ends), not on the administrative or programmatic means of attaining those effects.

    (a) Board values will be drawn from the diverse values of the community informed by expert sources both internal and external to the organization

     

  1. The board will enforce upon itself whatever discipline is needed to govern with excellence. Discipline will apply to matters such as attendance, preparation for meetings, policymaking principles, respect of roles, and ensuring the continuance of governance capability. Although the board can change its Governance Process policies at any time, it will scrupulously observe those currently in force.
  2. Continual board development will include orientation of new board members in the board’s Governance Process and periodic board discussion of process improvement.
  3. The board will allow no officer, individual, or committee of the board to hinder or serve as an excuse for not fulfilling group obligations.
  4. The board will monitor and discuss the board’s process and performance on a regular basis. Self- monitoring will include comparison of board activity and discipline to policies in the Governance Process and Board-Management Delegation categories.

Policy Title: 4.2 Board Job Description

Specific job products of the board, as an informed agent  of the ownership, are those  that ensure appropriate organizational performance.

Policy 4.2.1:
Create and maintain the linkage between the ownership  and the operational organization to represent  the informed voice of the owners. This linkage will include:

  • Seeking input regarding  owner values on issues of Ends, prudence and ethics
  • Educating owners on issues impacting the organization
  • Reporting to the owners  on organizational performance
  • Ensuring owners and other stakeholders  that bring non-governing  issues to the board understand  the process for getting their issue addressed  by the system in a courteous and respectful manner.

Interpretation:
We interpret this to mean that the members are elected to represent the owners of the school district which encompass all taxpayers of the community.Board members provide a linkage between our owners and the school district leadership. We seek input regarding owner values and use our position and knowledge of the school system to report and educate the owners on organizational performance. We maintain a strict adherence to the chain of command with respect to issues brought the Board or individual Board members attention and ensure follow-up to understand if the issue got attention at the appropriate levels.

Data:
The development of our ENDs statement was done using a significant amount of input from our community. Our Forums, held to gain a deeper understanding of the components of our ENDs statements, were done by inviting in content experts in each area. This is driving our vision and day to day actions in moving the district forward.

Through our monthly Newsletter and when appropriate Front Porch Forum we are able to direct specific communication to our community.

We have been very diligent in ensuring that the chain of command is being utilized from the correct levels. Superintendent input can be used for this data point.

Conclusion:
We report compliance.

 

Policy 4.2.2:
Create and maintain written governing policies that realistically  address the broadest level so fall organizational decisions and situations

  • Ends: organizational outcomes, impacts, benefits, recipients, and their relative worth (what good for which recipients at what cost
  • Executive limitations: constraints on executive authority that establish the prudence  and ethics boundaries  within which all executive activity and decisions must take place
  • Governance process: specification of how the board conceives, carries out, and monitors its own task
  • Board-management delegation: how power is delegated and its proper use; the superintendent’s role, authority, and accountability

Interpretation:
We interpret this to mean….. We serve our community to provide guidance through policy which guides our school administration for the benefit of our students primarily, but also for the employees, parents, taxpayers, and community. These policies, in the broadest sense, identify the expected ends or outcomes for our students, provide executive limitations to our leadership, and identify the board’s role in our education system, including contract negotiation..

Data:
Data based on the on-line BOard policies covering each of these areas

Conclusion:
We report compliance.

Policy 4.2.3:
Gain assurance  of successful organizational  performance on Ends and Executive Limitations.

Interpretation:
We interpret this to mean that we understand current organizational performance with respect to Ends and Executive Limitations

Data:
Data based on policy interpretations for Executive Limitations and Ends from the Superintendent. Results posted on the school website.

Conclusion:
We report compliance

Policy 4.2 4:
Advocate for legislative change, which positively impacts public education.

Interpretation:
We interpret this to mean we will advocate at the state  and local levels when issues arise that affect our district

Data:
Data based on Act46 involvement in FY16 school year. Direct interaction with state l. egislatures advocating for increased spending limits for districts who underspend the state average for per pupil spending

Conclusion:
We report in compliance

Policy 4.2.5

 

 

Appoint the external auditor.

 

 

Interpretation:

We interpret this to mean that we will appoint the external auditor on a periodic basis.

 

Data:

Data based on current contract with Auditor

 

 

Conclusion:

We report compliance

 

Policy 4.2.6:

Operational Decisions which the Executive Limitations policies prohibit the superintendent from making.

Determine the expenditure of surplus funds.

Determine the expenditure of long-term reserves.

Determine any closing of buildings as public schools.

Negotiating union contracts.

Conduct fair hearings in its role as a quasi-judicial body.

 

 

Interpretation:

We interpret this to mean that we responsible for carrying out these activities and that they shall not be relegated to the Superintendent. The Administrative team aids in the decision making process for expenditure of surplus and excess funds But the ultimate decision rests with the Board. Negotiating contracts and conducting fair hearings are understood to be the role of the Board.

 

Data:

Data based on meeting minutes from Board meeting when these topics are discussed that document the Board decision on these items. The process for Board hearings are only utilized when necessary after the normal complaint process has followed either contract language or policy.

Conclusion:

We report compliance.


Policy Title: 4.3 Handling of Operational Complaints

To ensure that the board fulfills its accountability to the ownership, but does not interfere in matters it has delegated to the superintendent, the following process shall be followed in the case of a board member receiving a complaint regarding an operational mater.

  1. The board member shall inquire if the proper internal communication protocol for registering concerns has been followed. It not, the individual shall be directed to the appropriate person and the board member shall take no further action.
  2. The board members hall not offer any evaluative comments or solutions.
  3. If the internal protocol has been followed and the concern has not been resolved through that action,the board member shall explain to the individual that the board has delegated certain responsibilities to the superintendent, and that the board holds the superintendent accountable. Indicate that the superintendent will be asked to ensure that the matter is looked into and respond directly.
  1. The board member shall ask the individual to contact him or her again if the matter has not been addressed within a reasonable time period.
  2. The board members shall inform the superintendent of the complaint and request that it be handled.
  3. If after completing the above steps the individual feels that he/she was not treated in a manner consistent with policy, or that the superintendent did not act in compliance with policy, he/she may request in writing to the board chair a review by the board at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

Policy Title: 4.4 Board Linkage with Ownership

The owners of the district are the citizens of Winooski. The board shall be accountable for the organization to the owners as a whole. The board shall act on behalf of the owners as a whole, rather than being advocated for specific geographic areas or interest groups.

Furthermore:

  1. The board shall gather data in a way that reflects the diversity of ownership. It shall meet with, gather input from, and otherwise interact with the broad spectrum of owners in order to understand the diversity of their perspectives. It shall recognize that diversity assures a broad base of wisdom, and shall seek to make decisions considering that input.
  2. The board will establish and maintain a three-year ownership linkage plan, in order to ensure that the board has intentional and constructive dialogue and deliberation with the owners, primarily around the organization’s Ends. The plan will include selection of representative owners for dialogue, methods to be used, and questions to be asked of the owners. The information obtained from this dialogue with owners will be used to inform the board’s policy deliberations.
    1. Owner input may be accomplished through a variety of methods, including but not limited to focus groups, surveys, public forums and advisory committees.
    2. The board may establish a committee to assist it in creating and evaluating the plan.
    3. All board members are accountable to the board for participating in the linkage with owners as identified in the plan.
  3. The board will consider its ownership linkage successful if, to a continually increasing degree:
    1. When developing or revising Ends, the board has access to diverse viewpoints that are representative of the ownership regarding what benefits this organization should provide, for whom, and the relative worth of those benefits.
    2. The owners are aware that the board is interested in their perspective.
    3. If asked, the owners would say that they have had opportunity to let the board know their views.
    4. The owners are aware of how the board has used the information they provided.

Policy Title: 4.5 Agenda Planning

To accomplish its job description with a governance style consistent with board policies, the board will follow an annual agenda that:

  1. completes a review of Ends policies annually
  2. continually improves board performance through board education and enriched input and deliberation and provides a mechanism to record and save opportunities for improvements.
  3. allows the board to meet its legal obligations
  1. The board shall maintain control of its own agenda by developing each year an annual agenda.The Chair, in consultation with other board members and the superintendent, will create an annual agenda and present it to the board for review no later than the last scheduled meeting of the planning year. The annual agenda will be approved at the board’s annual reorganizational meeting.

The annual agenda shall include but is not limited to:

  1. Consultations with selected groups in the ownership, or other methods of gaining ownership input in relation to the Ends.
  2. Governance education and education related to Ends determination (presentations by futurists, demographers, advocacy groups, staff, and so on).
  3. Annual Review of the Ends Policies based on the above, prior to the beginning of the budgeting cycle.
  4. Regular review of the content of Executive Limitations, Governance Process and Board-Management Delegation policies.
  5. Self-evaluation of the board’s own compliance with its Governance Process and Board-Management Delegation policies.
  6. Documentation of monitoring compliance by the superintendent with Executive Limitations and Ends policies. Monitoring reports will be provided and read in advance of the board meeting and discussed only if reports show policy violations, if reports do not provide sufficient information for the board to make a determination regarding compliance, or if the policy criteria are to be debated.
  7. Time for education about the process of governance.
  1. Based on the outline of the annual agenda, the board delegates to the chair the authority to fill in the details of the meeting content. Potential agenda items shall be carefully screened to ensure that they relate to the board’s job description. Screening questions shall include:
    1. Does this issue belong to the board or the superintendent?
    2. What category of policy does the issue relate to?
    3. What has the board already said in this category and how is this issue related?
  2. Throughout the year, the board will attend to consent agenda items as expeditiously as possible. When an item is brought to the board via the consent agenda, provided that compliance with all of the criteria in Executive Limitations has been demonstrated, the board will not discuss the item prior to approval. Only the majority of the board can remove an item from the consent agenda for discussion.

Policy Title: 4.6 Chair’s Role

The chair, a specially empowered member of the board, ensures the integrity of the board’s process and, secondarily, occasionally represents the board to outside parties. Accordingly:

  1. The assigned result of the chair’s job is that the board behaves consistently with it sown rules and those legitimately imposed on it from outside the organization.
    1. a)  Meeting discussion content will consist solely of issues that clearly belong to the board to decide or to monitor according to board policy.
    2. b)  Information that is for neither monitoring performance nor board decisions will be avoided or minimized and always noted as such.
    3. c)  Deliberation will be fair, open, and thorough but also timely, orderly, and kept to the point.
  2. The authority of the chair consists in making decisions that fall within topics covered by board policies on Governance Process and Board-Management Delegation, with the exception of (a) employment or termination of a superintendent and (b) areas where the board specifically delegates portions of this authority to others. The chair is authorized to use any reasonable interpretation of the provisions in these policies.
    1. a)  The chair is empowered to chair board meetings with all the commonly accepted powers of that position, such as ruling and recognizing.
    2. b)  The chair has no authority to make decisions about policies created by the board within Ends and Executive Limitations policy areas. Therefore, the chair has no authority to supervise or direct the superintendent.
    3. c)  The chair may represent the board to outside parties in announcing board-stated positions and in stating chair decisions and interpretations within the area delegated to her or him and report such activity at the next meeting of the board.
    4. d)  The chair may delegate this authority but remains accountable for its use.

Policy Title: 4.7 Board Members’ Code of Conduct

The board commits itself and its members to ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct, including proper use of authority and appropriate decorum when acting as board members.

  1. Members must demonstrate loyalty to the ownership, unconflicted by loyalties to staff, other organizations, or any personal interests as parents or guardians.
  2. It is the ethical and legal duty of all board members to avoid conflicts of interest as well as the appearance of conflicts of interest. “Conflict of interest” means a situation when a board member’s private interests, as distinguished from the board member’s interest as a member of the general public, would benefit from or be harmed by his or her actions as a member of the board. In order to comply with the obligations thus imposed, the board and its members will adhere to the following standards.
  1. a)  Board members will be familiar with, and adhere to, those provisions of Vermont education law which define School Board powers and govern board member compensation and public bidding processes.
  2. b)  A board member will not take any action which is intended to give the impression that he or she would represent special interests or partisan politics for personal gain.
  3. c)  A board member will not use his or her position on the board in any manner intended to unfairly promote personal financial interests or the financial interests of family members, friends or supporters.
  4. d)  A board member will not accept anything of value in return for taking particular positions on matters before the board.
  5. e)  A board member will do nothing intended to leave the impression that his or her position on any issue can be influenced by anything other than a fair presentation of all sides of the question.

Avoiding Conflicts: When a board member becomes aware of involvement in a conflict of interest as defined in state law or this policy, he or she will declare the nature and extent of the conflict or appearance of conflict for inclusion in the Board minutes, and will abstain from voting or participating in discussion of the issue giving rise to the conflict.

Complaints of Conflict of Interest: When a conflict of interest claim against a board member is brought to the board in writing and is signed by another board member or a member of the public, and the board member against whom the claim is made does not concur that a conflict in fact exists, the following board procedures will be followed.

  1. A)  Upon a majority vote of the remaining board members, or upon order of the chair, the board will hold an informal hearing on the conflict of interest claim, giving both the board member and the person bringing the claim an opportunity to be heard.
  2. B)  At the conclusion of the informal hearing, the remaining board members will determine by majority vote to take one of the following actions:
    1. Issue a public finding that the conflict of interest charge is not supported by the evidence and is therefore dismissed.
    2. Issue a public finding that the conflict of interest charge is supported by the evidence and that the member should disqualify him or herself from voting or otherwise participating in the board deliberations or decision related to that issue, as required by Vermont statute.
    3. Issue a public finding that the conflict of interest charge is supported by the evidence and, inaddition to disqualifying him or herself from voting or otherwise participating in the board deliberations or decision, the board member should be formally censured or subjected to such other action as may be allowed by law.
  1. Board members may not attempt to exercise individual authority over the organization. Aboard member will do nothing intended to give the false impression that he or she has the authority to make decisions or take action on behalf of the board or the school administration. As such;
    1. A)  Members’ interaction with the superintendent or with staff must recognize the lack of authority vested in individuals except when explicitly authorized by the board.
    2. B)  Members’ interactions with the public, the press, or other entities must recognize the same limitationand the inability of any board member to speak for the board except to repeat explicitly stated board decisions.
    3. C)  Except for participation in board deliberation about whether the superintendent has achieved any reasonable interpretation of board policy, members will not express individual judgments of performance of employees, volunteers or the superintendent.
  2. Members will respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature.
  3. Members will be properly prepared for board deliberation.
  4. Members will support the legitimacy and authority of the final determination of the board on any matter, irrespective of the member’s personal position on the issue.

Policy Title: 4.8 Governance Investment

Because poor governance costs more than learning to govern well, the board will invest in its governance capacity. Accordingly:

  1. Board skills, methods, and supports will be sufficient to ensure governing with excellence.
    1. Training and retraining will be used liberally to orient new members and candidates for membership, as well as to maintain and increase existing member skills and understandings.
    2. Outside monitoring assistance will be arranged so that the board can exercise confident control over organizational performance. This includes, but is not limited to, financial audits.
    3. Outreach mechanisms will be used as needed to ensure the board’s ability to listen to owner viewpoints and values.
  2. Costs will be prudently incurred,though not at the expense of end angering the development and maintenance of superior capability.
    1. Up to $1,000 in the next fiscal year for training, including attendance at conferences and workshops.
    2. Up to $2,500 in the next fiscal year for auditing and other third-party monitoring of organizational performance.
    3. Up to $500 in the next fiscal year for surveys, focus groups, opinion analyses, and meeting costs.
  3. The board will establish its cost of governance budget for the next fiscal year during the month of August.