BF: Board Policy Development
Under the School Act: "a board may, subject to this Act and the regulations...determine local policy for the effective and efficient operation of schools in the school district." The Act permits a board to exercise its powers and duties by either by-law or resolution, at the board's option, except where the Act specifically requires that a matter be dealt with by by-law.*
The Board of School Trustees (the “Board”) operates on the basis of a set of procedural By-laws dealing mainly with the Board's own operations; these are formulated and amended as provided in the By-law. In addition to the By-laws, the Board governs the school district and its operations and programs via written policies that are formulated and amended as needs arise, with considerable involvement from the community, staff, senior management, and trustees.
By-laws of the Board
Because the By-laws of the Board govern the Board's own organization, its rules of procedure and operations, its new By-laws and amendments to existing ones originate properly within the Board or at the recommendation of senior management. Proposals for new By-laws or amendments to existing ones require due notice, in writing, setting forth the proposed By-law or amendment at a meeting previous to the one at which it is to be considered. By-laws may be passed or rescinded by majority vote of the members present and voting.
* These types of By-laws are different from the so-called "money by-laws" that the Board passes from time to time in connection with the borrowing of money. Money by-laws are governed by the School Act, Secs. 141-146, Part 8, Division 6 - “Capital Plans and Money Bylaws”.
Money by-laws receive three "readings," usually all consecutively at the same Board meeting, before they are passed; in the interest of time, if a money by-law has been distributed to trustees prior to the meeting, it is considered "read" if the title only is read.
Policies of the Board
Because the policies of the Board govern the entire range of school district operations and programs, the formulation and development of policies affect various groups of people, including students, staff, senior management, trustees, and the community at large. For that reason, proposals for new policies or suggestions for changes in policies may originate with anyone and be brought to the Board - via the Superintendent of Schools - for referral to the appropriate Standing Committee for further discussion, formulation, and possible recommendation to the Board as a whole.
It is the wish and practice of the Board to consult groups affected by a proposed new or changed policy prior to making its final decision; the Board's Standing Committee structure allows for consultation and deliberation before the matter is recommended to the whole Board for action. However, the Board wishes also to reaffirm that final policy-making power rests only with the Board, as a corporate body and elected representative of the community.
Because the meetings of the appropriate Standing Committee provide ample opportunity for groups, individuals, and delegations to make their views known and assist the Committee in drafting the proposed policy, only one presentation at a Board meeting is usually required before a proposed policy can be voted upon. It is the practice that proposed new or amended policies come to the Board meeting with a recommendation from the appropriate Standing Committee. All proposed motions shall be submitted to the trustees, in writing, in advance of the meeting, unless otherwise permitted by the Chairperson, especially in an emergency. At the Board meeting, the proposed new or amended policy shall be presented by the chairperson of the respective Standing Committee, and a motion will be made on the recommendation of that Committee; the motion, if duly seconded, will then be voted upon and, if it is carried, the policy as proposed will become official policy of the Board. (Amendments or changes may be suggested by any trustee at the meeting and, unless the amendments and changes are substantial, will not make it necessary for the proposed policy to be referred back to Committee.)
The formal adoption of policies will be recorded in the minutes of the Board; only those written statements so adopted and so recorded shall be regarded as official policies of the Board. Policies will go into effect immediately upon adoption, unless a specific effective date is provided in the motion to adopt.
Notice of Motion
If a new policy or proposed change to an existing one originates with a trustee and is not referred to or developed by a Standing Committee, such proposed motion shall be submitted to the trustees, in writing, before the meeting at which it is to be considered, unless the Chairperson of the Board permits otherwise, especially in an emergency.
If a situation arises in which the Board must act quickly, the Chairperson may, with the consent of the Board, waive the requirement of prior notice, and the Board may propose, discuss, and adopt a policy at a single meeting. However, it is the practice of the Board to review such "emergency" policies after they have been in force for several months to ensure that the policy is well-considered and remains appropriate for continued use.
DMT Responsibility: SUPT.