For the purpose of enhancing teamwork among members of the board and between the board and the administration, we, the members of the Nuview Union School Board, do hereby commit ourselves collectively and individually to the following operating protocol:
1. Children’s interests come first. The board will represent the needs and interests of all the children in our district.
2. The purpose of School Board Meetings is for the Board to conduct their meetings in public. Board meeting are not public forums. The Brown Act requires the Board to conduct their business meetings in public, unless they go into closed “executive” session which is primarily for the purposes of addressing issues dealing with real estate transactions, negotiations, personnel, or anticipated litigation. The discussion of agendized items is intended to be among Board Members and cannot be a discussion with the public, as this is the process of the Board conducting its business in a public setting.
3. Meeting Protocol. Conduct at a board meeting is very important. We desire to have the legacy of a well-functioning, effective board. We agree to avoid words and actions that create a negative impression of an individual, the Board, or the district. We will be open-minded and willing to “attentively listen” to all speakers/presenters. We acknowledge that we can disagree and will do so using common courtesy and respect for others. We will not react to impromptu complaints on the spot, but the Board President will assure the individual(s) that the school district will follow-up.
4. We agree that we will ask the Board President or the Superintendent to place an item on the agenda. If board members have questions they want to address at the Board meeting, they should communicate with the Superintendent or Board President prior to the meeting. Do not spring surprises on other Board members or the Superintendent.
5. Board members conduct. The Board will be professional, courteous and respectful at all times and will follow the chain of command in addressing complaints or concerns. The Board meeting should be the last step in handling complaints and Board members should refer all complainants to the person they are concerned with as the first step. When complaints are addressed to the Board, the President shall refer the matter to the Superintendent to meet with the complainant as soon as possible after the board meeting, recognizing that the Superintendent is the chief executive officer of the school district and should ensure the matter is handled appropriately. The Superintendent may issue a report to the Board in regard to the resolution of the issue if deemed appropriate.
6. The Board acts only as a body. Individual Board members do not have authority. Only the Board as a whole has authority. We agree that an individual Board member will not take unilateral action. The Board President will communicate the position(s) of the Board on all issues. When Board members serve on various school committees their role shall be defined by the Board as silent observer or active participant.
7. 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, Board members will refer the person back to the employee who can properly and expeditiously address the situation.
8. Executive/closed session will be held only for appropriate matters. Executive sessions will be held only when specific needs arise on topics that are appropriate for closed session according to the Open Meetings Act (Brown Act). Board members will be extremely sensitive to the legal ramifications of closed session meetings, and will not make comments outside of the meeting about the closed session discussions.
9. Communication between staff and the Board is encouraged. However, Board requests for information of materials will be directed to the Superintendent. Requests that will likely require considerable staff time or have political implications may be brought to the Board for approval. All personnel complaints and criticisms received by the Board or its individual members will be directed to the Superintendent. The senior leadership team recognizes that “good,” “timely,” “open,” and “constant” communication regarding school district issues is extremely important. We will strive to anticipate issues which may become important or are sensitive to our school district and district stakeholders.
10. Exemplify the governance role. The leadership team ( the Board and Superintendent) will support the policies our district currently has in place. We will continue to annually study and review policies for effectiveness and appropriately engage key stakeholders in the development or deletion of policies and policy revisions. We will maintain and apply district policies consistently while being cognizant of and recognizing the potential uniqueness of any given situation.
11. Practice efficient decision making. Board meetings are for decision-making action and votes, not endless discussion. We agree to move the question when discussion is repetitive.
12. Utilize Superintendent input. The Superintendent should make recommendations, proposals, or suggestions on most matters that come before the board.
13. Speak to agenda issues. The Board will not play to the audience. We agree to speak to the issues on the agenda and listen to our fellow Board members. Facts and information needed from the administration will be referred to the Superintendent.
14. Clearly stated goals. The Board will set clear goals for themselves and the Superintendent. The Board and Superintendent will set clear goals for the Nuview Union School District.
15. Own you own issues. The Board will not be a liaison for others, but rather, will encourage others to present their own issues, problems, or proposals when discussing issues.
16. Conduct efficient and effective Board meetings. Long Board meetings should be avoided. Points are to be made in as few words as possible; speeches at Board meetings should be minimal. If a Board member believes he/she doesn’t have enough information or has questions, either the Superintendent or Board President is to be called before the meeting.
17. Annually conduct a Board evaluation. The Board will address its behaviors in a yearly self-evaluation and by addressing individual problems such as poor meeting attendance or leaks of confidential information, as they arise.
18. Schedule annual study session dates. During the December Organizational Meetings, the Board will schedule at a minimum, quarterly Board Study Sessions for the school year.