Standard Operating Procedures
School Board Contact Information
Becki Kellcy, District 1, Director
Marty Schafer, District 4, Director
Carole K. Jacobs, District 2, Director
Paul Wagemann, District 5, Director
Joe Vlaming, District 3, Director
Debbie LeBeau, Superintendent and Secretary to the Board
CLOVER PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT
Standard Operating Procedures
As a group of elected officials, the Clover Park School District Board of Directors is primarily responsible for setting direction, establishing policy and responding to the community in the area of governance. The superintendent, as chief executive officer, serves as the educational leader of the district and is responsible for the administration and implementation of board direction and policies.
Basic to this relationship is a clear understanding that the board and the superintendent constitute a team. Neither can operate effectively without thorough knowledge of, and support for, the other's role and a thorough understanding of the board's and superintendent's responsibilities. Since the line between policy making and administration is often unclear, teamwork is essential to bridge any uncertainty. The board of directors and the superintendent must be willing to cooperate, keep personal differences from blurring the issues, and share both credit and blame.
Principles for School Board/Superintendent Relations
The school board's number one priority is to represent the educational needs of each child in the district.
The following set of operating principles and behaviors, when adhered to by all, will create an open, communicative, and productive environment for a team approach to school district management.
Roles and Responsibilities
Surprises to the board or the superintendent will be the exception, not the rule. There should be no surprises at a board meeting. Team members have agreed to ask the board president or the superintendent to place an item on the agenda instead of bringing it up unexpectedly at a meeting.
- Conduct at a board meeting is very important. Team members have agreed 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.
- The board will emphasize planning, policy-making, and public relations and not become involved in implementing policy.
- The superintendent is the chief executive officer and should recommend, propose, and/or suggest additional information/opinions on most matters before the board.
- The authority of the board resides in the collective decision of the individual board members and is presented publically as one voice. Individual board directors do not have authority. Only when speaking as one voice, and acting as a whole, does the board have authority. We agree that an individual board director will not take unilateral action. The board president will communicate the position(s) of the board on controversial issues after discussion with all board of directors. When board directors serve on various school committees, their role shall be defined by the board as silent observer or active participant. As a member of various school committees and state committees, the board directors will share the information with the team.
- Board directors will avoid grand-standing with the audience during board meetings.
- Each board director agrees to speak to the issues on the agenda at the board meeting with fellow board directors. Facts and information needed from the administration will be referred to the superintendent or immediate response/comment whenever possible. Follow-up to public questions and comments will be forwarded to the board and addressed during the superintendent's comments portion of the agenda as appropriate. Exempt meetings, executive sessions and special meetings will be held only when specific legally allowable needs arise. Board directors will treat information discussed in these meetings as confidential and in accordance with state law and the Open Public Meetings Act.
- Board member requests, which may require considerable time or have political implications, are to be directed to the superintendent and board president.
- All personnel complaints and criticisms received by the board or its individual members will be directed to the superintendent, whose responsibility it is to oversee the operations of the school district. The superintendent will give the board feedback regarding the resolution.
- The last stop, not the first, will be the Board. Board directors have agreed to follow the chain of command and insist that others do likewise. 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.
- The board will encourage others to present their own issues, problems, and/or proposals.
- The board will address its behavior through annual self-evaluation and by addressing itself to any individual problems, such as poor meeting attendance, tardiness, or leaks of confidential information.
- Board priorities will be included and/or incorporated into the Superintendent’s accountability plan.
- Each member of the team is charged with the responsibility of working as a team to find the best way to meet the needs of our students and schools. Our approach is to work in an open, positive, and problem-solving atmosphere to achieve the goals of the district.
Loyalty and Disagreement
Cooperation, support, and loyalty do not mean we will agree on every issue: dialogue, divergent thinking, and debate will encourage the best decisions. To clarify this principle, the following rules must be adhered to:
- Each individual has the responsibility for being loyal to the district, to each member of the team, and to our common cause: a quality education for each child.
- If there is any doubt about contacting employees of the district, the superintendent should be contacted first. Questions about operation, direction, etc., should be directed to the superintendent.
- nformation given in confidence, particularly when planning and exploring alternatives, must also remain confidential. Team members should state in advance whatever they consider to be confidential information.
- When board directors or the superintendent find themselves in disagreement with another team member, a one-to-one meeting with that person should be arranged to confront the disagreement and seek a solution. When the session ends, the disagreement must remain a private matter.
- Discussions and disagreements at meetings and debate over issues should be open and honest. Once a final team decision is reached, a one voice consensus is established, each member has the responsibility to support the decision.
- Agendas must be open and on the table for meaningful dialogue to occur. Information upon which decisions are made, with accompanying alternatives, will be given to the board in a timely manner so that appropriate input and analysis can take place prior to the time of the decision. If a member is unable to support an item at the board meeting, the superintendent should be informed in advance.
- We are accountable to the public for the decisions we make and for the quality of our work. We demonstrate responsibility to our patrons by listening to them and by utilizing effective systems of gathering information and assessment and communicating through our established processes.
- Our accountability program consists of three important components: the adoption of the superintendent's work plan, a yearly review and goal-setting process, and a monitoring and evaluation system for assessing the achievement of goals.
- Using the superintendent's accountability plan, which incorporates the board expectations and priorities, we will adopt district goals. The superintendent is accountable to the board for the achievement of the district's progress toward these goals. The board in turn is accountable to the public for the effective implementation and completion with periodic updates as necessary.
We believe that excellence in education is enhanced through professional development. We are committed to the idea of assisting each team member's plan for personal and skill development. Each team member, however, must also take responsibility for self-development.
Each of us brings a unique perspective to our roles and responsibilities. Each sees the schools from a different vantage-point. It is essential, therefore, that each individual takes the initiative to communicate problems and/or accentuate successes to the board president and superintendent who will develop plans toward solving problems and celebrating successes.
Code of Ethics
For each member of the team, there are organizations to assist members in carrying out their roles effectively. We expect and agree that board directors and administrators will follow the WSSDA’s adopted Washington School Board Standards, June 27, 2009 (see attached) established by their professional organizations.
- Effective interpersonal communication requires a healthy communication climate with high levels of trust and respect for individuals and for the mission of providing quality education for all students. To achieve this trust, communications must be open, straightforward and honest.
- It is far easier to communicate praise than criticism. However, we must learn to communicate both praise and criticism as well as learn to be praised and criticized. Constructive criticism and self-criticism brings growth to us and to our schools.
- In order to minimize the perception of favoritism or to avoid conflicts in the workplace, the board and superintendent will not develop close personal relationships with administrators. Situations where only some of the board or council are invited to participate is discouraged. Group activities for team building and networking to forward the mission of the district are acceptable means of communication.
- The superintendent and the board president will make deliberate attempts to share information and data with all members.
- Information about events in the schools will be regularly provided to the entire board.
- When an individual board director is contacted by staff or community members, each member will utilize the following procedures:
- Listen to the individual's concerns.
- Inform the individual that the board has agreed to a process for resolving concerns and conflicts through the appropriate chain of command.
- Inquire if the individual has discussed the issue with the person immediately responsible. If not, provide direction so they may do so.
- Inform the superintendent of the contact and the response.
- Only the superintendent or his/her designee is to contact the District's lawyer or negotiator. If a board director feels a need to talk to district counsel or the negotiator, the director is to contact the superintendent. The board president may directly contact the district's legal counsel in reference to the superintendent's contract.
- The superintendent or designee is responsible for communicating official district positions to the media. There will also be occasions when the board president communicates the official district position. All board of directors will be informed.
- If communication is to be sent to all board directors, it will be done by phone, email or mailed.
There is a workable formula for researching problems and reaching decisions, which should be followed before major decisions or recommendations are made. The board will ask the superintendent to follow this process:
- Define the problem.
- Gather the facts. No decision will solve any problem without full understanding of the situation and an analysis of the facts.
- Involve representatives who are affected by the problem and who will be affected by the decision. The fact-finding process is a good way to involve people in gathering data, becoming knowledgeable about the problem, and being committed to the solution.
- Propose three or four alternative solutions, including at least one solution that does not require additional funding. Each alternative should list the advantages and disadvantages of that particular solution or alternative.
- Once the group has looked closely at the alternatives, it should then make a recommendation. The recommendation should include documentation of the process used to arrive at the proposed recommendation.
- The board will analyze data once all the appropriate stakeholders are involved and they have all the facts. This analysis will vary greatly depending upon the particular problem. In some cases, it may be useful to call in people with expertise in specific areas to help analyze the data and prepare suggestions for solutions.
- The decision-making process does not end with the decision or the plan. Once the decision is made, it must be communicated to those who are affected. The decisions then must be put into operation, and responsibilities assigned. Plans must also include systematic review and evaluation procedures, including dates by which future decisions regarding continuation, modification, or discontinuance must be made.
Signed and dated this 11th day of September 2017.>
See the Washington School Board Standards Web page