Policy BG : Policies

A. POLICY DEVELOPMENT

The School Committee will develop policies and put them in writing so that they may serve as guides for the discretionary action of those to whom it delegates authority.

The formulation and adoption of these written policies will constitute the basic method by which the School Committee will exercise its leadership in providing for the successful and efficient functioning of the school system. Through the study and evaluation of reports concerning the execution of its policies, the School Committee will exercise its control of school operations.

The School Committee accepts the definition of policy set forth by the National School Boards Association:

“Policies are principles adopted by a school committee to chart a course of action. They tell what is wanted; they may include why and how much. Policies should be broad enough to indicate a line of action to be followed by the administration in meeting a number of problems; narrow enough to give clear guidance. Policies are guides for action by the administration, who then sets the rules and regulations to provide specific directions to school district personnel.”

The policies of the School Committee are framed, and are meant to be interpreted, in terms of state law, regulations of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and other regulatory agencies of the various levels of government.

The School Committee will develop the process that the School Committee will use for policy formulation and adoption.

B. POLICY ADOPTION 

Adoption of new policies or changing existing policies is solely the responsibility of the School Committee. Policies will be adopted and/or amended only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the School Committee members present when such action has been scheduled on the agenda of a regular or special meeting. A quorum must be present for the School Committee to take any vote. A majority of the School Committee will constitute a quorum.

To permit time for study of all new policies or amendments to policies and to provide an opportunity for interested parties to react, proposed policies or amendments will be presented as an agenda item to the Regional School Committee for discussion at a regularly scheduled meeting. Except to meet emergency conditions, no vote will be taken by the Regional School Committee to approve the proposed policies or amendments until the following regularly scheduled meeting or at a special meeting established for that purpose.

To meet emergency conditions, the School Committee may dispense with the above sequence by a vote of two thirds of those members present. A quorum must be present for the School Committee to take any vote.

Because the three School Districts are strongly connected with each other, policies usually will be consistent across the three districts. Except when the topic of a policy is not relevant for all three school districts, a proposed policy will be brought before all three School Committees for a vote. A policy becomes effective for the school district as soon as the School Committee has voted approval, unless the School Committee specifies a later date for the policy to take effect.

If a policy will not apply to all three districts, then the pertinent School Committee may adopt a policy for its School District by discussing the proposed policy as an agenda item at a regularly scheduled meeting and by voting to approve the policy. Except in emergency conditions, no vote will be taken until the following regularly scheduled meeting or at a special meeting established for that purpose.

Policies will be effective upon the date set by the Regional School Committee or by the pertinent School Committee. This date will ensure that affected persons have an opportunity to become familiar with the requirements of the new policy prior to its implementation.

C. POLICY REVIEW AND EVALUATION

In an effort to keep its written policies up-to-date so that they can be used consistently as a basis for School Committee action and administrative decision, the Committee will review its policies on a regular basis.

The Committee will evaluate how the policies have been executed by the school staff and will weigh the results. It will rely on the school staff, students, and the community for providing evidence of the effect of the policies it has adopted.

The Superintendent is given the continuing commission of calling to the Committee’s attention all policies that are out of date or for other reason appear to need revision.

The School Committee directs the Superintendent to periodically recall all policy and regulations manuals for administrative updating and Committee review.

D. SUSPENSION OF POLICIES

The operation of any section or sections of School Committee policies not established by law or contract may be temporarily suspended by a two-thirds vote of a quorum of Committee members present at any regular or special meeting. Any action to suspend policy must be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting and will be so noted on the agenda for that meeting.

E. ABSENCE OF POLICY

In the absence of policy, the Chairperson may speak for the Committee, and the Superintendent of Schools may act for the Committee. Both would do so with the understanding that such actions are subject to review by the entire Committee and approval by them.

Region Voted to Approve: 7/11/06 amended 11/25/08
Amherst Voted to Approve: 8/15/06 amended 12/9/08
Pelham Voted to Approve: 9/7/06 amended 12/4/08
Effective Date: 12/9/08

 

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