Board of Education Handbook
Regional School District 13
Board of Education
The Regional District 13 Board of Education understands that access to a quality public education is not just a constitutional requirement, but is also a moral imperative to ensure that all individuals have an opportunity to fully develop their talents, moral imagination and essential humanity. Accordingly, all students in the towns of Durham and Middlefield are entitled to a quality educational experience that prepares them to be lifelong learners.
In order to provide the necessary and appropriate leadership for the Regional District 13 Public Schools, the Regional District 13 Board of Education is committed to governing as a professional board of directors. This means a commitment to the principles and practice of professional governance, the sharing of a common understanding of Board policies, practices, procedures and principles, a focus on continuous learning and improvement, and a willingness to serve as a model of effective moral leadership to students, staff and the community. This handbook is an attempt to set down in writing the Board’s procedures and principles for the benefit of current and future members of the Regional District 13 Board of Education.
The mission of Regional School District 13, a community that celebrates learning, honors tradition, and embraces change, is to ensure that all students will be engaged and ethical lifelong learners and citizens who will thrive, excel, and contribute in an ever-changing, interdependent world by providing challenging, diverse, and nurturing experiences that empower each student to succeed through meaningful partnership with family and community.
Each and every student in Regional School District 13 will achieve established, rigorous performance standards in all areas of student learning by becoming independent strategic readers, problem solvers, and critical thinkers.
The Regional School District 13 Board of Education will establish reciprocal communication that is accessible and understandable, and that unites all citizens around the belief that high-quality public education is a community’s most valuable asset.
Facilities and Educational Adequacy
The Regional School District 13 Board of Education will ensure all students have the opportunity to learn and achieve in safe and educationally adequate facilities by meeting the needs of the district with respect to appropriate space and the quality of learning environments.
The Regional District 13 Board of Education will institutionalize a focus on continuous improvement leading to student achievement and student success through its development of policy, ongoing evaluation, and commitment to individual and Board professional growth.
The Board of Education established the following goals for the community relations program:
1. To increase public understanding of the school system.
2. To increase community confidence and interest in the school system.
3. To promote effective dissemination of information concerning school activities.
4. To solicit community opinions about the school system.
5. To encourage the sharing of resources among civic and community organizations for the benefit of the school system.
6. To encourage the community to practice the District’s Core Ethical Values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Kindness, and Courage.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 1000
Code of Ethics
The Board will:
- Be a staunch advocate of high quality free public education for all Connecticut children. In fulfilling my responsibilities, I will think of “children first”.
- Act as an agent of the state, uphold and enforce all laws, rules, regulations and court orders pertaining to public schools. I will strive to bring any needed change only through legal and ethical procedures.
- Strive to help create public schools which meet the individual educational needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex, physical condition or social standing.
- Work unremittingly to help my community understand the importance of proper support for public education, whether it be in providing adequate finances, optimum facilities, staffing and resources, or better educational programs for children.
- Join with my Board, staff, community and students in becoming fully informed about the nature, value and direction of contemporary education in our society. I will support needed change in our schools.
- Strive to ensure that the community is fully and accurately informed about our schools, and will try to interpret community aspirations to the school staff.
- Recognize that my responsibility is not to “run the schools" through administration, but together with my fellow Board members, to see that they are well-run through effective policies.
- Attempt to confine my Board action to policy-making, planning, and appraisal, and will help to frame policies and plans only after my Board has consulted those who will be affected by its actions.
- Arrive at conclusions only after discussing all aspects of the issue at hand with my fellow Board members in a meeting. I will respect the opinions of others, and abide by the principle of majority rule.
- Recognize that authority rests only with the whole board assembled in a meeting, and will make no personal promises nor take any private action which may compromise the Board.
- Acknowledge that the Board represents the entire school community, and will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interests or partisan political groups. I will never use my position on the Board for gain of myself or my friends.
- Hold confidential all matters pertaining to school which, if disclosed, might needlessly injure individuals or the schools.
- Insist that all school business transactions be open and ethical.
- Strive to appoint the best professional leader available when a vacancy exists in the chief administrative position.
- Strive to appoint the best-trained technical and professional personnel available, upon recommendation by the appropriate administrator.
- Support and protect school personnel in the proper performance of their duties. I will strive to ensure that all personnel have not only the requisite responsibilities, but the necessary authority to perform effectively.
- Refer all complaints through the proper “chain of command” within the system, and will act on such complaints at public meetings only when administrative solutions fail.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9271
Key Work of School Boards
In addition to its Mission Statement and Board Goals, as well as responsibilities defined by law, the Board subscribes to the Key Work of School Boards. This framework for planning and action, developed by the National School Board Association, is based on the system’s concept that no action or progress is accomplished in isolation. The eight essential areas for Board focus and action are as follows:
Vision – establishing a clear vision of student achievement as a top priority of the
Board, staff and community.
Standards – setting clear standards for student performance.
Assessment – establishing regular and valid assessments to measure district and student progress.
Accountability – establishing a process that holds the school system accountable for student success.
Alignment – aligning of all district resources to focus on student performance. Climate – creating a positive climate throughout the school district to promote
Collaborative Relationships – building collaborative relationships with the community to promote and develop a consensus and understanding of the priority of student achievement.
Continuous Improvement – committing all individuals within the school district to the idea of continuous improvement in the pursuit of student achievement and success.
Board Authority and Responsibility
The Board of Education is ultimately responsible for ensuring that Durham and Middlefield residents have access to a free, quality education through high school. Connecticut law imbues the Board with specific and often broad authority over the administration of Regional District 13 schools. (A lengthier and more specific listing of the Board’s authority can be found in Chapter 10 of the Connecticut General Statutes.)
While the Board has broad authority over the Regional District 13 schools, much of this authority is delegated to the superintendent of schools and other district employees. The Board of Education functions, not as management responsible for the administration of
the school district, but as a board of directors responsible for establishing a vision for Regional District 13 schools, and monitoring its progress in reaching that vision.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9010
Authority of Individual Board Members
Individual Board members have no authority except when they are meeting as a Board of Education. The Board of Education is a collective body and, by statute, can only act when a quorum is assembled in a legally constituted meeting. The statements or actions of individual Board members do not bind the Board of Education, except when that statement or action has been authorized by an official act of the Board. Board members
should be careful not to act or speak in a manner that suggests they are speaking or acting on behalf of the board of education or the school district when they have not been so authorized by the Board. Board members shall not be asked to perform any routine or clerical duties which may be assigned to an employee.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9010
The Board understands that not all of its work can be accomplished at regularly scheduled meetings of the entire Board and that in order to dedicate the necessary time, expertise and focus on individual issues it is necessary to utilize committees of the Board. The Board’s committee structure was developed so that it is aligned with the Board’s goals to better focus Board activity and action on its stated priorities.
Each standing committee of the Board of Education is appointed annually by the Board chair. Board members are encouraged to participate on different committees throughout their term in order to enhance their understanding of Board responsibilities.
In addition to the standing committees, when a particular issue calls for the expertise of more than one committee – such as the Utilization Study Committee –the Board and the Superintendent can create an ad hoc committee for those tasks that require a committee of the Board and do not fall within the parameters of the standing committees (i.e. disciplinary and residency hearings).
Reference: Board of Education Policies 9130, 9133
Student Achievement Committee
The focus of the Student Achievement Committee is to review and monitor appropriate metrics to evaluate student achievement and to pursue continuous improvement in overall District academic performance. In addition the committee shall ensure that adequate time and resources are allocated for the purpose of staff professional development. The responsibilities of this committee include:
- Working with the administration on development, implementation and maintenance of appropriate metrics for all areas of District, school and student performance.
- Working with the administration on the development, implementation and
maintenance of a program for a curricular review.
- Consultative participation in the review, evaluation and development of the District's curriculum.
- Ensuring that adequate resources are budgeted and appropriate training is provided
for staff professional development, particularly with regard to Common Core State Standards and SEED.
- Working with the Superintendent of Schools to schedule professional development
time for staff as appropriate.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9130
Educational Resources Committee
The focus of the Educational Resources Committee is to obtain and oversee the management of the resources that are needed to increase the District's capacity to lead, teach and learn. The responsibilities of this committee include:
- Monitoring of metrics to ensure that District resources are utilized effectively,
efficiently and equitably to improve students’ achievement.
- Working with the Superintendent of Schools and the Business Manager regarding
the development of the District's annual budget.
- Reviewing annual capital expenditures and the utilization of the District capital
reserve including balances encumbered for future capital projects.
- Monitoring community demographic information and facility usage to ensure a safe and optimal learning environment.
- Monitoring District pension assets, accrued liabilities and funding ratios.
- Monitoring of metrics to ensure that District resources are utilized effectively,
- Working with Administration to develop contract language standards and
payment/compensation ranges for new or existing contracts, other than union contracts, in accordance with Board Policy #3324.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9130
The focus of the Policy Committee is to ensure that all Board of Education policies and by-laws are current, relevant and readily available to all members of the Board and Community. The responsibilities of the Policy Committee include:
- Working with the Superintendent of Schools to develop changes to Board policies as
necessitated by changes in state and federal regulation, as mandated by the State Board of Education or as necessitated by changes within the District.
- Working with the Superintendent of Schools to ensure that all by-laws are current,
relevant and consistent with existing Board structure and operations.
- Ensuring that all policy and by-law changes proposed by the Policy Committee are
reviewed and then voted upon by the full Board of Education on a timely basis at a duly posted meeting of the Board of Education.
- Ensuring that an accurate and timely electronic Policy Manual, including all by-
laws, is posted on the RSD13 website and available to all members of the public.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9130
Human Resources Committee
The focus of the Human Resources Committee is to optimize the effectiveness of human resources employed by the Board of Education. The responsibilities of the Human Resources Committee include:
- Working with the Superintendent of Schools and key administrators to maintain an
effective organizational structure that is responsive to the current needs of the District and consistent with budgeted funding levels.
- Working with the Superintendent of Schools to ensure that staff compensation levels
are appropriate across different levels within the District, fall within the approved operating budget, and are competitive with local school districts including, but not limited to school districts in the same DRG (District Reference Group).
- Working with the Superintendent to ensure the development and execution of procedures for annual staff reviews and ensuring the development and implementation of appropriate procedures to address any noted development opportunities or deficiencies.
- Working with the Superintendent of Schools and Business Manager to review major
health insurance plan changes as may become necessary from time to time and make appropriate recommendations to the full Board of Education at a duly posted meeting of the Board of Education.
- Developing and maintaining a Board Member Handbook as well as conducting a new member orientation meeting as appropriate.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9130
Election of Board of Education Members
The Regional District 13 Board of Education is a ten member, non-partisan Board. Board members serve three-year terms. In order for an individual to run for the Board of Education, one must be nominated at the annual town meeting, with the highest vote getter filling the vacant seat(s). Upon being elected, the candidate will be sworn in by the Town Clerk to be certified.
Board members are elected to the Board of Education at the individual annual town meetings in Durham and Middlefield in May. Regularly appointed members’ terms begin July 1st and end June 30th. The member ratio on the Board is based upon the student enrollment from each town. (See Town Charters)
Board Member Qualifications
Individuals must be registered voters in Durham or Middlefield in order to serve on the Board of Education. Employees of the Board of Education may not serve on the Board.
Beyond the minimum statutory requirements for Board service, it is expected that Board of Education members will share a commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience for each student, a willingness to work and study to become well-versed in public education and Regional District 13 schools, and a sincere desire to be part of a high-functioning governing body that takes the responsibilities of public service seriously.
Resignation of Board Members
Board members who wish to resign from the Board of Education must submit a letter of resignation to the town clerk of the representing town, with a copy to the Board chair. A member’s resignation is not effective until it is filed with the town clerk. The Board of Education does not have the authority to either accept or reject a member’s resignation.
It is the expectation of the Board that Board members who leave the Board either through resignation or election, extend the courtesy of providing the Board with feedback through a conversation with the Board Chair or Superintendent or if preferred a written questionnaire. It is hoped that the honest and thoughtful reflections of departing members will provide valuable information and ideas for Board self-evaluation and improvement efforts.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9111
Filling a Vacancy on the Board
When a vacancy occurs on the Board of Education, the town which the member represented shall call a special town meeting within 30 days to name a successor to fill the unexpired term.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9111
Conflict of Interest
No member, officer, or employee of the Board of Education shall have an interest in any contract with which the school board member, officer or employee is affiliated unless such interest is specifically permitted by statute.
“Interest” shall mean pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a Board of Education member, officer or employee or their relatives resulting from a contractual relationship with the school system.
No member of the Board of Education may be employed for compensation by the school district. If a Board member is employed by the school district, the office to which he or she was elected shall become vacant.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9270
Discipline of Board Members
Although the Board of Education cannot remove individuals from service as Board members, it does have the authority and ability to discipline individual members. Since service as a Board officer is a privilege and not a right, Board officers can be removed from their position as an officer by a majority vote of the membership of the Board.
Board members who violate the rules, regulations or policies of the Board, interfere with the orderly and efficient operation of the Board, or act in ways that are contrary to the best interests of the school district can be subject to a vote of censure by the Board. A censure vote is an expression of disapproval concerning an individual member by the Board and, hopefully, will be used rarely, if at all.
Board Member Orientation
As part of its commitment to having highly-trained individuals as part of a professional governing board, the Board will provide orientation opportunities for new members and candidates. Once a new member is elected, the Board chair or his/her designee and the superintendent of schools will offer candidates an opportunity to learn about service on the Board of Education. The new member will be provided a package of materials including the Board member handbook, the Board of Education budget document, and other appropriate materials.
Upon their election to the Board, newly elected Board members will be provided this orientation opportunity, including the opportunity to attend professional development opportunities such as the CABE/CAPSS Convention if provided in the annual budget and invited to meet with the Superintendent to tour the schools.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9230
Board Member Professional Development
The Board is committed, both individually and as an organization, to the principles of continuous improvement and ongoing education, and understands that in order to perform as a high-functioning professional organization its members must be well educated about the Regional District 13 schools, board governance and educational best practices. The Board will look to identify and provide professional development opportunities for Board members, and Board members will be encouraged to participate in these learning opportunities. The Board will reimburse members for reasonable, pre-approved expenses for professional development.
Examples of these professional development opportunities, but by no means the only opportunities, are the CABE/CAPSS Annual Convention, as well as seminars conducted by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education provided such opportunities are funded within the current school budget.
Board members are also expected to read the same professional articles that are utilized by school administrators, as well as share and exchange professional articles among themselves.
The Board of Education has three officers, president, secretary and treasurer. The Board elects officers at its meeting held in July. Officers are elected by a majority vote of those members present and voting.
The Board chair presides at all meetings and serves as the Board spokesperson. He/she is responsible for appointing Board members to committees, and signs documents, and contracts on behalf of the Board. The Board chair works closely with the superintendent of schools to plan meeting agendas and may call special meetings of the Board.
The Board secretary shall sign all papers that require the signature of the Board and act as the Board’s representative in legal matters. The secretary presides over meetings when the president is absent.
The Board treasurer is the fiduciary agent of the Board of Education. He/she shall sign all checks for the board, make investments, arrange for loans and notes and supervises the payment of all financial obligations of the Board.
Reference: Board of Education Policies 9210, 9211
The superintendent of schools, pursuant to state law, is the CEO of Regional School District 13. He/she is responsible for leading and managing the school district, hiring and supervising personnel, developing and administering the budget, and advising the Board on educational developments, board policies and applicable laws. The superintendent of schools shall regularly communicate to the Board the status of student learning and the district’s progress in meeting its stated goals.
The superintendent of schools attends all meetings of the Board and works closely with the Board in developing goals and initiatives, and is responsible for the implementation of these initiatives. Although the superintendent of schools is directly employed and supervised by the Board, his/her working relationship with the Board is such that he/she is generally considered the Board’s “eleventh member.”
One of the primary responsibilities of the Board is to develop policies to govern the school district and the Board, which will serve as guideposts and guidelines for the effective and efficient operation of a school district committed to providing an exceptional educational experience for each student. Board policies are developed according to requirements set forth in Connecticut Statutes, State Department of Education recommendations, and the Board’s own bylaws, policies and mission statement. In order for Board policies to effectively perform their stated purpose, it is important that they are regularly reviewed and updated. In order to ensure that Board policies are current and in compliance with statutory requirements, the Board may utilize attorneys or other outside consultants. While the Board may be advised concerning its policies by the superintendent of schools, its attorney or other consultants, the adoption of new policies, or the revision or repeal of existing policies is the sole responsibility of the Board.
The adoption of Board policies is governed by Board Policy 9311. Board policies shall be presented to Board members at a Board meeting and a vote shall occur at a subsequent meeting before they can be adopted by the Board.
Board policies and bylaws may be suspended for a specific purpose and limited time by a majority vote of Board members in attendance when there is prior written notice. Absent such written notice, suspension of Board policies requires a majority vote of the entire Board. The suspension of Board bylaws requires a two-thirds vote of the entire Board absent prior written notice.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9311
One of the responsibilities of the Board of Education is to conduct hearings. A minimum of three members of the Board are needed to serve on a hearing committee. For many of these hearings, such as student expulsion hearings, school accommodation hearings, transportation hearings and teacher termination hearings, the Board serves as an impartial hearing board. In these instances, Board members who serve on the panel must make their decision based only on the evidence and information presented at the hearing. Regardless of whether the Board is serving as an impartial panel, or in grievance hearings, Board members have an obligation to treat those before them respectfully and fairly, adhering to the highest standards of professional conduct.
Search, Selection and Appointment of Superintendent
The Board of Education is responsible for the appointment of the superintendent of schools. When conducting a search for a superintendent, the Board may vote itself as the personnel search committee. If so, it may meet as the personnel search committee without public notice of its meetings or a requirement to allow the public to attend.
The search for, and selection of, a superintendent of schools is one of the most important decisions that a board of education can make. Accordingly, this process should be thoughtful and informed, made with a clear understanding of the needs of the school district and the corresponding characteristics of an ideal superintendent, as well as an awareness of the availability of potential candidates. Although each search process is unique, generally the Board would be well advised to consult with the public and other informed individuals, both in and outside the district, when conducting a superintendent search.
Board Role in Hiring Process
Generally speaking, the Board does not have the primary role in the hiring process, except for the superintendent of schools. It is Board policy to authorize the superintendent of schools to hire teachers and other personnel without direct involvement on the part of Board members.
When hiring school administrators, the Board has a more direct role. A minimum of two Board members as selected by the Board chair and the Superintendent, will participate in the interview process. In addition to Board members the committee should consist of community members, teachers and administrators. The superintendent’s recommended finalist/s for administrative positions is interviewed by the Board who votes to approve. The Board’s role is one of approval of the selected candidate; it cannot hire certified personnel without the prior recommendation of the superintendent of schools.
The Board is responsible for the adoption of a budget for the school district. The superintendent of schools presents a proposed budget to the Board by February. Before adopting the budget, the Board shall study the school program in relation to the needs of the students and the community in order to establish budget priorities. Not less than two weeks before the district annual meeting held on the first Monday in May, the Board shall hold a public district meeting to present a proposed budget for the next fiscal year. Any person may recommend the inclusion or deletion of expenditures at such time. After the public hearing, the board shall prepare an annual budget for the next fiscal year, make available on request copies thereof and deliver a reasonable number to the town clerk of each town in the district at least five days before the annual meeting. At the annual meeting, the Board shall present a budget which includes a statement of (1) estimated receipts and expenditures for the next fiscal year, (2) estimated receipts and expenditures for the current fiscal year, (3) estimated surplus or deficit in operating funds at the end of the current fiscal year, (4) bonded or other debt, (5) estimated per pupil expenditure for the current and for the next fiscal year and (6) such other information as deemed necessary.
Reference: Board of Education Policies 3120, 3113, 3150
Connecticut General Statutes §10-47, §10-51
As the superintendent of schools is the only school district employee directly supervised by the Board of Education, the Board is responsible for evaluating the superintendent’s performance, as well as making decisions concerning his/her contract of employment, such as compensation and extending the term of the contract. Beginning in May, the Board shall conduct an evaluation of the superintendent’s performance, utilizing a process and standards of performance that have been agreed upon in advance with the superintendent of schools.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 2131
Following the conclusion of the school year, the Board shall meet to conduct a self- evaluation of its own performance. The self-evaluation shall be based, in large part, on the Board’s success in making progress towards meeting its stated goals. As part of the self-evaluation process, the Board will solicit input from the district administrators as to the Board’s performance over the past year.
An essential part of the self-evaluation process is a focus on board governance. It is expected that the Board will look carefully at its conduct at board meetings, its adherence to policy, its treatment of the public, staff and one another, as well as on its focus on student achievement and ability to distinguish between governance and management.
The Board recognizes that in order to properly develop a long range and in-depth plan for school improvement, it will be necessary to regularly meet in a retreat setting to allow for a more focused discussion of school district performance and initiatives. Although they are considered special meetings of the Board of Education, retreats are generally held at times and/or locations that are different from regularly scheduled meetings. In addition
to the attendance of all Board members, the Board may invite the superintendent of schools, school administrators or other individuals to participate in its retreat.
Board Members Visiting Schools
Although Board of Education members are encouraged to visit schools independently, they have authority only in regularly called meetings of the Board of Education, or when delegated specific tasks by specific Board of Education action, and must be mindful that they do not serve in an administrative function. If a Board member wishes to visit one or more of the district’s schools, he/she should first inform the superintendent, who will then work with the appropriate school principal to schedule a visit.
Reference: Board of Education Policies 1250, 9010
Board Member Request for Information
It is important for Board members to be informed about the school district and the performance of our students. The superintendent of schools and school administrators regularly provide Board members with data and information at Board meetings. Board members who seek additional information are encouraged to work through the standing Board committees to obtain this information. If the information sought by individual Board members is not readily available through the work of the committees, Board members are to coordinate their information requests with the Board Chair to ensure that the information requests submitted to the superintendent of schools, do not overwhelm them so as to distract them from their primary responsibilities.
Reference: Orientation of Board Members Policy 9230
Except for statutorily mandated exceptions, such as expulsion and residency hearings, Board members do not get involved with individual student matters. Individual student information is confidential and Board members only have access to this information when that information is necessary for Board members to perform a function in their official capacity.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 5125
Indemnification of Board Members
Connecticut law provides that the school district shall protect and save harmless any school employees, volunteers and board members from any claim, demand, suit or judgement by reason of alleged negligence in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. This protection includes legal fees and costs, financial loss and expense, and other costs.
Reference: Connecticut General Statute §10-235
The Board of Education establishes its annual meeting schedule by January 31st of each year. The Board of Education shall meet regularly as deemed necessary. The Board will meet at least monthly during the school year. All meetings will be properly noticed.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9261.1
Regular meetings of the Board of Education are those meetings listed on its annual schedule or scheduled and noticed at least 30 days in advance. Board meetings start at 7:00 p.m. and are held at one of the district’s six schools. At regular meetings, the Board can add items to the meeting agenda.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9261.1
Meetings of the entire Board that are not on the annual schedule of meetings and are not scheduled 30 days in advance are special meetings. At a special meeting, the Board cannot add items to the meeting agenda for discussion or action. Special meetings must be noticed within 24 hours of the meeting.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9321
The superintendent of schools, in conjunction with the Board chair, develops an agenda for each Board meeting. Meeting agendas, along with necessary documents and materials, are distributed to Board members prior to the meeting. Board agendas are designed to minimize votes and discussion on matters that are unnecessary, trivial or are best addressed at the non-board level. Ideally, Board agendas are designed so that meeting time is dedicated to a focused, informed discussion on student achievement and other educational priorities. Any Board member may request an item to be placed on the agenda no later than 72 hours prior to the legally required public posting of the agenda by contacting the Board Chair.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9323
Robert’s Rules of Order
The Board conducts its meetings utilizing the Robert’s Rules of Order, 10th Edition, for the conduct of its meetings, except when these rules are in conflict with Board policy or Connecticut law. The Board secretary serves as the Board parliamentarian, unless another board member is chosen as parliamentarian by a majority of the Board.
Reference: Robert’s Rules of Order Policy 9320
Six members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. Unless otherwise specified by Board policy, a majority of board members voting on a particular item is sufficient for approval.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9367
Agenda items that require a vote by the Board, but may not require discussion are to be placed on the consent agenda. The consent agenda is an item on the meeting agenda in which all voting items that do not require Board discussion or debate are listed. A vote to approve the consent agenda by the Board shall approve all items listed on the consent agenda. If a Board member wishes to discuss an item, he/she shall request that the item
be taken off the consent agenda, and it will be discussed and voted on separately following a vote on the consent agenda.
The Board of Education is a collective body and, as such, can only act via a vote by its members. Board votes must be in public at a properly noticed meeting of the Board and recorded in writing. Pursuant to Robert’s Rules, all motions must be made by one board member and seconded by another. Members may vote in favor, against or abstain from voting. Members may explain their vote, but are not required to do so.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9326
Board Member Attendance
Board members are expected to attend meetings of the Board, including meetings of their assigned committees. While it is almost inevitable that, on occasion, an individual member will have a personal or professional conflict that prevents him/her from attending a meeting, ideally this is a rare and unavoidable circumstance. Service on the Board of Education is a public trust on behalf of the community and children of District 13, and it is expected that Board members will make this service a priority. The Board of Education functions best when all ten members devote the time, energy, preparation, and seriousness of purpose necessary to accomplish exceptional work and that is called for by public service. If a Board member is unable to attend he/she must give advanced notice to the Board Chair or the Superintendent of Schools if the member is not able to contact the Board Chair for purposes of a quorum.
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), minutes must be taken at all meetings of the Board of Education. These minutes must be available within seven days of the meeting, but all votes of the Board must be reduced to writing and available within forty-eight hours. The FOIA requires that minutes must contain the recording of votes and the names of those members in attendance. These requirements apply to meetings of Board committees as well.
In order to appropriately apprise the public of the Board’s work, Board minutes should contain the time of the meeting; members in attendance; a brief description of any business transacted by the Board, along with any Board action; the recording of Board member votes; and a description of any executive session held, along with the names of all individuals present for the executive session.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9326
Although, as a public agency, the Board must meet and conduct its business in public, under certain narrowly-defined exceptions, the Board may exclude the public from a portion of its meeting by calling an executive session. The Freedom of Information Act provides that a board of education may enter an executive session with a two-thirds vote of those members in attendance and voting. Although the law allows for discussion in executive session, any action by the Board must be taken in open session.
The permissible reasons for holding an executive session are limited and, when in doubt, the Board should consult with its counsel. Some reasons are to discuss documents with respect to collective bargaining, personnel matters (with the permission of the individual who is the subject of the discussion), pending claims and litigation, confidential documents and student matters.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9322
Notice of Meetings
The regular schedule of Board meetings, established at the Board’s annual meeting, is forwarded to the Town Clerks of Durham and Middlefield. All Board meetings must be posted at least twenty-four hours prior to a meeting, except in emergency circumstances. Board members are to receive meeting agendas and relevant documents and materials prior to meetings.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9321
Open Meeting Requirements
As a public agency, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires that all meetings of the Board be posted at least twenty-four hours in advance and that members of the public are allowed to be present. Additionally, the FOIA requires that all Board documents be made available to the public promptly upon request, with limited provisions for the redaction of confidential information.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 9322
Public Comment at Meetings
The Board may designate a meeting agenda item to allow for public comment, permitting any individual or group to address the Board concerning any subject that lies within its jurisdiction. Three minutes may be allotted to each speaker and a maximum of nine (9) minutes per topic, although the Board Chair may extend this time, as appropriate.
The Board may modify these limitations at the beginning of a meeting if the number of persons wishing to speak makes it advisable to do so. No inappropriate or disrespectful conduct shall be permitted at any Board of Education meeting. Persistence in such conduct shall be grounds for summary termination, by the chair, of that individual's privilege of address and, if disruptive behavior continues, removal from the meeting. All speakers must identify themselves by name and address. The public comment portion of a meeting is an opportunity for Board members to hear from the public. It is not an opportunity for Board members to engage in discussion or debate with members of the public. Accordingly, Board members will not comment on or respond to public comments.
Reference: Board of Education Policy 1120
It is the expectation that the Board of Education is a professional organization whose meetings model appropriate behavior for the school district. It is expected that members will abide by the District’s Core Ethical Values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Kindness and Courage. Members will be prepared for meetings and arrive on time, with those individuals who cannot timely attend giving prior notice to the Board Chair. Board members will be dressed professionally for all public meetings. Board meetings will be conducted via understood and established procedures as set forth in Board policy and bylaws.
In order to ensure that meetings of the Board are as effective and useful as possible, members will avoid surprises by articulating specific concerns in advance. The Board believes that informed, respectful discussion and debate is the best means of arriving at good decisions for the school district. Accordingly, during discussion Board members will listen attentively, consider all points of view, support their positions with facts when possible, be prepared to answer questions from other Board members, focus on the issue at hand, avoid negative and personal comments, and be prepared to compromise, understanding that the goal of debate among Board members is not to prevail but to arrive at the best possible decision for the school district.
The July Board meeting following the election is the first meeting of the new school year. At this meeting, the newly-elected Board members will sit with the Board for the first time and the Board will elect officers.
Electronic Participation at Meetings
Board members may participate in meetings telephonically, with any Board member participating telephonically counted for the purpose of constituting a quorum. In order for a Board member to participate telephonically, the following conditions must be met: (a) the facility that is made available to the public that wishes to attend the meeting must
be located where the greatest number of Board of Education members are located; (b) any physical or demonstrable material that is used in the course of the proceedings must be present in the place where the public is located; and (c) all those in attendance at the meeting, at whatever location, must be able to hear and identify all participants in the proceeding, including their individual remarks and votes.
When a Board member is participating in a meeting telephonically, the meeting Chair shall take the necessary steps to ensure that the three conditions enumerated above are met. In addition, the chair shall take the necessary steps to ensure that a Board member participating telephonically has adequate opportunity to express himself/herself in Board discussion, including the opportunity to take the floor and make motions.
Reference Electronic Participation at Board Meetings Policy 9327
Common Core Standards
Common Core is a set of K-12 expectations of what students at each grade level should know and be able to do in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, as well as literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects.
Connecticut Achievement Performance Test and Connecticut Mastery Tests
All districts are required to continue to administer the CMT and CAPT science tests for students in grades 5, 8, and 10.
Connecticut Association of Boards of Education
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education serves local and regional boards of education. It is a membership organization made up of Connecticut boards of education, including a majority of school districts representing approximately 90% of the state's public school population.
Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents is a statewide, nonprofit, educational administration organization whose membership includes Connecticut public school superintendents, assistant superintendents, central office administrative personnel, state department of education officials, and college and university professors.
Data Driven Decision Making
Data-driven decision making uses student assessment data and relevant background information to make informed decisions related to planning and implementing instructional strategies at the district, school, classroom, and individual student levels.
District Reference Groups
To assist in reporting and analyzing school district data, the State Department of Education developed District Reference Groups (DRGs), which are designed to compare groups of districts that have similar characteristics. The state’s 166 school districts and three academies have been divided into nine groups, based on socioeconomic status, indicators of need and enrollment.
Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Commission was created by the General Assembly in l975 with the passage of the Freedom of Information Act. The Act provides the public with rights of access to records and meetings of public agencies.
Lead Connecticut is the framework for critical attributes and actions of effective school district leadership.
Net Current Expenditure Per Pupil
Net current expenditures are calculated as defined in Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-261(a)(3). Net Current Expenditure includes all current public elementary and secondary expenditures from all sources, excluding reimbursable regular education transportation, tuition revenue, capital expenditures for land, buildings and equipment, and debt service. The information for determining Net Current Expenditure is provided from the End of Year School Report (ED001).
Regional Educational Service Centers
Connecticut is divided into six independent Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs). These centers are composed of towns from within the service center’s region. A town’s choice to join the Regional Educational Service Center is voluntary. Each service center tries to provide a variety of special services that address the educational needs of their cooperating towns. Each Regional Educational Service Center is maintained by state and federal funds and through membership dues.
Robert’s Rules of Order
Robert’s Rules of Order is designed as a parliamentary guide and it is the most commonly adopted parliamentary authority among societies in the United States. It is a codification of the present-day, general parliamentary law.
Smarter Balanced Assessments
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) has developed next-generation assessments to accurately measure student performance in meeting the Common Core Standards. The annual assessments in English language arts and mathematics are administered at each grade level from 3 through 8, and 11. The online assessments are comprised of two parts: (1) a computer adaptive test and (2) performance tasks.
Strategic School Profile
The Connecticut General Assembly passed Section 10‐220(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, an act concerning the reporting of school and district strategic profile reports, in May 1990. The law provides that: "...each local and regional board of education shall submit to the commissioner of education a strategic school profile report for each school under its jurisdiction and for the school district as a whole. Each profile report will contain information on measures of student needs, school resources, and student and school performance.” Reports will be available annually on November 1st.
General classroom instruction for students
Intervention instruction for students in need
AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress
CABE – Connecticut Association of Boards of Education
CAPSS – Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
CAS – Connecticut Association of Schools
CEA – Connecticut Education Association
CHRO – Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities CIAC – Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference
DRG – District Reference Group
DSAP – Durational Shortage Area Permit
ECS – Educational Cost Sharing
ELL – English Language Learners
ESL – English as a Second Language
ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act FOIA – Freedom of Information Act
FOIC – Freedom of Information Commission
GED – General Educational Development
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IDT – Interdisciplinary Team
IEP – Individualized Education Program
MBR – Minimum Budget Requirement
MER – Minimum Expenditure Requirement MERA – Municipal Employee Relations Act NCEP – Net Current Expenditures per Pupil NCLB – No Child Left Behind Act
NEASC – New England Association of Schools and Colleges NESDEC – New England School Development Council NSBA – National School Board Association
OCR – Office of Civil Rights
PPT – Planning and Placement Team
RESC – Regional Educational Service Center
RTI – Response to Intervention
SBAC – Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium
SEED – CT’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development
SRBI – Scientific Research-Based Intervention
TEAM – Teacher Education and Mentoring Program
TNA – Teacher Negotiations Act
TRB – Teacher Retirement Board
Robert’s Rules of Order, 10th Edition
A Practical Guide to Connecticut School Law, Thomas B. Mooney, 6th Edition
See You in Court – the Annals of the Nutmeg Board of Education, Thomas B. Mooney
“CABE/CAPSS Governance Statement,” February 2004
“School Boards and Student Achievement,” Iowa Association of School Boards
“The Lighthouse Inquiry,” Iowa Association of School Boards
Becoming a Better Board Member, National Association of School Boards