Lancaster City Schools
School Board Operating Protocol
For the purpose of enhancing teamwork, efficiencies and effectiveness among members of the board of education, superintendent, treasurer, leadership team, staff and community, we, the members of the Lancaster City Schools Board of Education collectively and individually agree to the following operating protocol:
- Children’s needs and interests come first. The board will represent the needs and interests of all the children in our district.
- Don’t spring surprises on the other board members or the superintendent and treasurer. Surprises will be the exception, not the rule. We agree to ask the board president or the superintendent to place an item on the agenda instead of bringing it up unexpectedly at the meeting.
Board meeting agendas will be developed through this process:
- Board president, treasurer and superintendent meet to discuss agenda items.
- All changes to the agenda prior to the board meeting will come from the superintendent to the board president and the treasurer.
- Communication between staff, administration, community and the board is encouraged.
- Board members should be sensitive to the perception of their role and the impact of their discussions on a particular topic.
- All complaints, concerns and criticisms on behalf of school personnel received by the board or its individual members will be directed to the superintendent.
4. It is expected that board members will participate as guests in special classroom activities, district functions and special events. Board members will provide a courtesy call to the superintendent when intending to visit a building.
- Follow the chain of command. The last stop, not the first, will be the board. We agree to follow the chain of command and insist that others do so. While the board is eager to listen to its constituents and staff, each inquiry is to be referred to the person who can properly and expeditiously address the issue.
- Own the collective decision-making process. It is the board members’ responsibility to vote his/her heart. However, board member(s) will respect the majority decision and support the work of the board.
- Exemplify the governance role. The board will emphasize planning, policy-making, and communication rather than becoming involved in the management of the schools.
- Clearly state goals. The board and administration will collaboratively set annual district goals. The superintendent, treasurer, and administrative team performance evaluations will be aligned to those goals.
- Annually conduct a board self-assessment/evaluation of performance and effectiveness. The board will address its behavior by conducting a yearly self-evaluation and by addressing any individual problems based on set governance goals and clearly stated board protocol.
- Utilize CEO input. The superintendent is the chief executive officer and should make recommendations, proposals or suggestions on matters that come before the board.
- Board acts only as a body. Only the board as a whole has authority. Individual board members do not have authority. An individual board member cannot take unilateral action. The board president will communicate the position(s) of the board on all issues.
- Meeting Protocol. Conduct at a board meeting is very important. We agree to avoid words and actions that create a negative impression on an individual, the board or the district. While we encourage debate and differing points of view, we will do it with care and respect to avoid an escalation of negative impressions or incidents.
- Avoid marathon board meetings. To be efficient and effective, long board meetings will be avoided. If a board member believes she/he doesn’t have enough information or has questions, the superintendent is to be called prior to the meeting.
- Practice efficient decision-making. Board meetings are for decision-making, action and votes, not endless discussion. We agree to move to the question when discussion is repetitive.
- Speak to agenda issues. The board will not play to the audience. We agree to speak to the issues on the agenda and attend to our fellow board members. We will not react to impromptu complaints on the spot, but will assure individuals that the school district will follow-up. Facts and information needed from the administration will be referred to the superintendent.
- Executive/closed sessions will be held only for appropriate subjects. Executive sessions will be held only when specific needs arise. Board members will be extremely sensitive to the legal ramifications of their meetings and comments.
Amy Eyman, Board President
Board Meeting: March 27, 2012