SCHOOL COMMITTEE Needs to Review Existing Policy and ‘Get Back to Basics’
Now that the budget battle of FY2017 has subsided - for a few months at least - talk amongst the school committee has once again turned to strategic plans, shared values and more guidance from consultants. While all these approaches may eventually contribute to healing the current fractures between the town and the school committee, a priority for the group should be to get “back to basics” and review their existing policies.
After months of questionable behavior on the part of some of its members, the Groton-Dunstable School Committee might consider a review of the Groton Dunstable School Committee Ethics Policy. The document is available on the district’s web site, and reproduced here:
SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER ETHICS
(Massachusetts Association of School Committees Code of Ethics)
The acceptance of a code of ethics implies the understanding of the basic organization of School Committees under the Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The oath of office of a School Committee member binds the individual member to adherence to those state laws which apply to School Committees, since School Committees are agencies of the state.
This code of ethics delineates three areas of responsibility of School Committee members in addition to that implied above: (1) community responsibility; (2) responsibility to school administration; and (3) relationships to fellow Committee members.
A. School Committee member, in their relations with their community should:
1. Realize that his/her primary responsibility is to the children
2. Recognize that his/her basic function is to be policy making and not administrative
3. Remember that he/she is one of a team and must abide by, and carry out, all Committee decisions once they are made
4. Be well informed concerning the duties of a Committee member on both a local and state level
5. Remember that he/she represents the entire community at all times.
6. Accept the office as a Committee member as means of unselfish service with not intent to “play politics,” in any sense of the word, or to benefit personally from his/her Committee activities
A School Committee member in his/her relations with his/her school administration should:
1. Endeavor to establish sound, clearly-defined policies which will direct and support the administration
2. Recognize and support the administrative chain of command and refuse to act on complaints as an individual outside the administration
3. Give the chief administrator full responsibility for discharging his/her professional duties and hold him/her responsible for acceptable result
4. Refer all complaints to the administrative staff for solution and only discuss them at Committee meetings if such solutions fail
School Committee members relations with other Committee members should:
1. Recognize that action at official meetings is binding and that no single member bind the Committee outside of such meetings
2. Realize that he/she should not make statements or promises of how they will vote on matters that will come before the Committee
3. Uphold the intent of executive sessions and respect the privileged communications that exists in executive sessions.
4. Not withhold pertinent information on school matters or personnel problems, either from members of his/her own Committee or from members of other committees who may be seeking help or information on school problems
5. Make decisions only after all facts on a question have been presented and discussed.
Reviewed and Adopted: 12/17/2014