By Laws

Macdonough School Governance Council By-Laws

Preamble

It is the policy of the Middletown Board of Education to endorse and support parent,

staff, student and community involvement in school governance. It is the intent of the Board that

Macdonough School will have a School Governance Council that enables parents and school staff, and community members to work together in facilitating quality educational plans that

engender continuous improvement of student achievement. It is the responsibility of the

Principal to develop and maintain effective organizational structures and processes for

advisement in the school in conjunction with the School Governance Council.

 

Article I: Name

 

The name of this Committee is the Macdonough School Governance Council, hereinafter

referred to as the “Council” organized under the authority of the state reform law, Public Act 10-

111, as codified in Section 21(g).

 

Article II: Purpose

 

Recognizing the importance of communication and participation of parents, school staff,

and community leaders to improve student achievement in the efforts to educate our children, the Council establishes as its purpose the support of Macdonough School. The Council shall work to support educational efforts of the school by working in a spirit of cooperation with school staff and administration to improve student achievement and performance, provide support for teachers and administrators, and bring parents, staff, students and community leaders into the school based decision-making process by working on education issues. The Council shall endeavor to bring parents and the community together with teachers and the school administrator to create a better understanding of and mutual respect for each other’s concerns and role, and share ideas for continuous school improvement.

 

1. The School Governance Council provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the school to craft a productive collaboration to support student success. The intent of the Council is to enable parents, school staff, students and community leaders to work together to improve student achievement in the local school setting/site. The management and control of Macdonough School shall be the responsibility of the Board of Education and the school leader shall be the Principal. The Council shall provide advice, recommendations, endorsements, and assistance; and represent the community of parents, school staff, students (where appropriate) and community leaders in support of continuous school improvement designed to improve student achievement. Each member of the Council, as a representative, shall be accorded the respect and attention deserving such election or appointment.

 

2. The purpose of the School Governance Council is to assist, advise and provide the building Principal with a broad base of input to improve school and student performance and to help design, develop and implement a school improvement plan that is aligned with the state and district standards.

 

3. The purpose of the School Governance Council is to provide a forum for parents, teachers, and community members to counsel/advise the school Principal regarding all matters related to the operation of the school with the exception of those matters such as personnel performance which are regulated by statute exclusively to administrative personnel. The Council will provide input to the Principal regarding major decisions or recommendations as it relates to school improvement. Areas included are budgeting, curriculum and instruction, facilities, student assessments, remedial and school-support services, school-community relations and communications, and student assessments.

 

4. The School Governance Council shall counsel the Principal regarding all matters related to the operation of the school with the exception of those matters such as personnel performance which are relegated by statute exclusively to administrative personnel.

 

Article III: Membership

 

Section 1: Number and Qualifications

The Council shall represent the perse interests of the families and staff that make up the local

school community. Every effort, therefore, shall be made to engage broad participation in the

Council election process.

 

To meet statutory requirements, the Council will consist of fourteen (14) voting members plus up

to three nonvoting members (depending on the type of school involved.) The following tables

describe the members, the number of members and how members are selected.

 

Members of the Council shall include:

a. Seven (7) parents or guardians of students currently enrolled in Macdonough School as voting members. (excluding parents/guardians who are also employed at the school.) Parents or guardians who are employed by the Board of Education, but not assigned to Macdonough School are eligible to serve. Parents nominated for Council membership must have a child enrolled in the school for the current school year to be included on the ballot.

b. Five (5) teachers at the school as voting members.

c. Two (2) community leaders as voting members.

d. One (1) Principal of the school or his/her designee as a non-voting member.

 

Section 2: Term of Office/Tenure

a. Voting members shall serve for a term of two years. No voting member of the Council shall serve more than two terms.

c. The term of office for all Council members shall begin as of October 15 of the school year.

d. School Governing Council members shall be elected for two (2) year terms. Half, or the nearest approximation thereof, of each representative group shall be elected during odd years, and the remaining number elected during even years. At the first regular meeting of the Council, each member’s current term of office shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

e. The Council will determine by the method of its choice the members who will serve one or two year terms for the initial implementation.

 

Section 3: Resignation

Any Council member may withdraw from the Council by delivering to the Principal or the

Chairperson or Secretary of the Council a written resignation, or by giving verbal resignation

during a regular meeting of the Council. Such verbal or written notice of the resignation shall be

recorded in the official meeting minutes.

 

Section 4: Removal

Any member of the Council, who is no longer active, excluding the Principal, may be removed by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Council’s voting members at a regular or called meeting of the Council. A member of the Council shall be deemed to be inactive if the member has missed three (3) consecutive meetings of the Council. The Council shall determine the effective date of the removal. Furthermore, any member of the Council who has violated the Council’s “Code of Conduct” may be removed from the Council. Such removal shall be by a majority vote of membership of the Council at any regular or called meeting of the Council.

 

Section 5: Compensation

Council members shall not receive any remuneration to serve on the Council or its committees.

 

Section 6: Vacancy

The office of Council member shall be automatically vacated:

• If a member resigns,

• If a member is removed by action of the Council pursuant to Article III, Section 4 of

these Bylaws, or

• If a member no longer meets the qualifications for membership specified by these

bylaws.

 

Vacancies which occur during the first half of the school year will be filled in accordance with the following procedure.

  • Nominations will be solicited by the Election Committee and forwarded to the Council.
  • Voting members of the council will hold an election and the candidate(s) with the highest vote totals among the council members will be appointed.

 

Vacancies which occur during the second half of the school year will remain unfilled until the next all school election period in September of the given year.

 

Article IV: Selection Process/Election of Members

 

Section 1: Selection Process

1. The school Principal may enlist an election committee to assist in conducting the

election. The committee would:

• Schedule dates,

• Post announcements,

• Collect nominations,

• Set up, administer in, and oversee the election process, and

• Formally announce the results.

 

2. The parent/guardian members (7) of the Council shall be elected by the parents or

guardians of students attending the school. Each household with a student attending the

school will have one vote. The teacher members (5) of the Council shall be elected by the teachers of the school.

3. The community leaders (2) of the Council shall be elected by the parent/guardian

members and teacher members of the Council.

 

Section 2

Election Process

A valid election process should include the following activities:

 

1. Election Committee

• The Principal may enlist an election committee to assist in conducting the election – schedule dates, post announcements, collect nominations, set up and administer the voting itself and formally announce the results.

• The election committee should represent the persity of the school and be

unaffiliated with any potential candidates.

• The final decision shall be made by October 31st of each calendar year.

 

2. Call for Nominations for Parents and Teachers

• A call for nominations should be sent to all parents or guardians in the school to nominate themselves or other parents or guardians for the seven available positions on the Council.

• A parent is a person who is the natural, adoptive or stepparent of a child enrolled in the school and includes those people acting as legal guardian or register custodian of the child, such as grandparents.

• A call for nominations should also be sent to all staff members to nominate themselves or others for the five positions on the Council. (The staff members at a given school shall be responsible for selecting their representatives to the Council. A nomination process should be conducted followed by a ballot. Staff members are those certified OR non-certified staff who perform the majority of their duties at Macdonough School.

• The election committee shall verify that those nominated are eligible and willing to

serve.

 

3. Voting

• The ballot for the parent election should be distributed to each household. Each household of students enrolled in the school for the current school year will receive one ballot. The ballot

for the staff members election shall be distributed to all staff members.

• The ballot for the parent election shall be sent home in the Friday Folder of the each family’s youngest child.

• If more than one family resides at the same location, each family should be sent their own ballot.

• Parents/guardians are eligible to vote for parent representatives. A household can cast a vote for each open parent seat on the Council. In the first election, all seven seats are open.

• To ensure maximum participation, parents and teachers should be given sufficient time and multiple opportunities to cast their ballot – whether through dropping the ballot off at the school office or another community location or through the U.S. mail.

• If the number of candidates is less than or equal to the number of positions, the voting process must still be followed. The full membership of the Council shall be completed by repeating the process of soliciting nominations and holding a second election.

 

4. Results

• Immediately following the election, ballots should be counted with supervision by the election committee or at least a school administrator, one parent and one teacher who are unaffiliated with any candidates.

• The Principal should announce the results and post the new membership of the council on the school’s website.

 

5. Community Members of the Council

• After the parent and teacher members are elected by their representative groups, they shall then elect the community members who will serve on the Council.

• A community member shall be anyone who resides in the school district or has a business or civic interest in the area. The parent and teacher representatives shall determine a process for soliciting interest from community members.

• Community members are defined as community leaders of influence in each community, including, but not limited to, religious leaders, non-profit leaders and business leaders.

 

6. Principal

• The Principal shall participate directly as a nonvoting member of the Council or name a designee to the Council.

• The role of the Principal in terms of authority and responsibility for school management is not changed by the institution of this Council. Ultimately, the Principal is responsible and accountable to the Superintendent of Schools.

 

Article V: Officers/Responsibilities/Election/Term of Office

 

Section 1: Officers

1. The officers of the school site Council shall be a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson,

Secretary, and other officers the Council may deem desirable.

 

2. The Chairperson shall:

• Prepare an agenda for each meeting and publically post the agenda at the school site (and on the school’s website) 72 hours in advance of each meeting of the School Governance Council.

• Preside at all meetings of the Council.

• Sign all letters, reports and other communications of the Council.

• Perform all duties incident to the office of the Chairperson.

• Have other such duties as are prescribed by the Council.

 

3. The Vice-Chairperson shall:

• Represent the Chairperson in assigned duties.

• Substitute for the Chairperson in his or her absence.

• Perform such other duties as to be assigned by the Chairperson or the School Governance Council.

The council may, by majority vote, elect to have “Co-Chairs” in lieu of the Chair and Vice Chair model. In the event that Co-Chairs is chosen, the co-chairs must be from different groups (e.g. one parent and one staff member OR one parent and one community member).

 

4. The Secretary shall:

• Act as clerk of the Council.

• Keep minutes of all regular and special meetings of the school site Council, including attendance, summary reports, and all votes in a book to be kept for that purpose.

• Transmit true and correct copies of the minutes of such meetings to members of the Council.

• Provide all notices in accordance with these bylaws. (give or cause to be given notice of all meetings of the Council.)

• Be custodian of the records of the Council.

• Keep a register of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each member of the Council and others with whom the Council has regular dealings, as furnished by those persons.

• Perform other such duties as are assigned by the Chairperson or the Council.

 

Section 2: Election of Officers and Terms of Office

• The officers of the Council shall be elected at a meeting of the Council following the annual election of Council members. The Principal shall conduct the process of election of officers.

2. A vacancy in any office shall be filled at the earliest opportunity by a special election of the Council, for the remaining portion of the term of office.)

3. Officers may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of all the members of the Council.

 

Section 3: Executive Committee

The officers of the Council (Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Secretary) shall comprise the Executive Committee of the Council.

 

Article VI: Duties of Council Members

 

The members of the Council are accountable to their constituents and shall:

• Maintain a school-wide perspective on issues.

• Regularly attend and participate in Council meetings.

• Participate in information and training programs.

• Act as a link between the Council and the community.

• Encourage participation of parents and others in the school community.

 

a. Parents: Council parents are responsible for soliciting input from the school’s parental community with respect to issues of concern to the Council. Parent members shall relay council activities to the parent community as well as to the school’s parent organizations.

b. Staff Members: School staff Council members are responsible for soliciting input from the faculty and support staff with respect to issues of concern to the Council. Staff members of the Council shall report to faculty and support staff.

c. Principal: The Principal is responsible for keeping the Council informed of all relevant school information. He/She shall take the lead role in promoting new programs at the school. The Principal shall seek the active participation of the Council in those areas listed under “Council Responsibilities.”

 

Article VII: Committees, Study Groups, Task Forces

The Council may appoint committees, study groups, or task forces for such purposes as it deems

helpful/necessary in order to carry out the responsibilities of the Council enumerated in these

bylaws. No such committee, study group or task force may exercise the authority of the Council.

 

Section 1

Selection of Committee Members

Unless otherwise determined by the Council, the Council Chairperson shall appoint members of standing or special committees. A vacancy on a committee shall be filled by appointment made by the Chairperson.

 

Section 2

Terms of Office

The Council shall determine the terms of office for members of a committee.

 

Section 3

Committee Membership

The Council may establish and abolish subcommittees of its own membership to perform duties as shall be prescribed by Council. At least one member representing staff and one member representing parents shall make up the subcommittee. No subcommittee may exercise the authority of the Council.

 

Section 4

Quorum

A majority of the members of the committee shall constitute a quorum, unless otherwise determined by the Council. The act of a majority of the members present shall be the act of the committee, provided a quorum is in attendance.

 

Section 5

Committee Rules

Each committee may adopt rules for its own government not inconsistent with these bylaws or rules adopted by the Council or Board of Education policies. All committees of the Council shall follow the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act as required by statute.

 

Section 6

Record Keeping

All committees shall keep records of business conducted at meetings. The minutes will be kept on file in the school office and available at all times to the Council members. The minutes shall include the names of committee members in attendance, listing of topics discussed and committee recommendations.

 

Section 7

Reporting Responsibilities

Committee Chairpersons will present work plans and recommendation to the Council for approval. Each committee may make a report through its Chairperson at each regular meeting of the Council.

 

Article VIII: Council Responsibilities

 

Section 1: Mandatory Advisory Capacity Responsibilities by Statute

School Governance Councils serve in an advisory capacity and shall assist the school administration in the areas listed below:

• analyze school achievement data and school needs as they relate to the school’s improvement plan;

• review the fiscal objectives of the school’s draft budget and advise the Principal before the budget is submitted to the Superintendent;

• participate in the hiring process of the school Principal or other administrators of the school by conducting interviews of candidates and reporting on such interviews to the Superintendent of Schools for the school district and the local and regional Board of Education;

• assist the Principal in making programmatic and operational changes to improve the school’s achievement;

• develop and approve a written school parent involvement policy that outlines the role of parents and guardians (Note: Schools that receive federal Title 1 funds are required to have a parent involvement policy developed jointly with, approved by, and distributed to parents. A school’s Title 1 parent involvement policy can serve the purpose of the policy required under this section.); and

• work with school administrators in developing and approving a school compact for parents, legal guardians, and students that outlines the school’s goals and academic focus identifying ways that parents and school personnel can build a partnership to improve student learning. (Note: Schools that receive federal Title 1 funds are required to have a school-parent compact, developed with parents. A school’s Title 1 compact can serve the purpose of the compact required under this section.)

 

Section 2: Optional Additional Responsibilities

In addition to its statutory required responsibilities, the Council may:

• assist in developing and reviewing the school improvement plan and advise the Principal before the report is submitted to the Superintendent of Schools;

• work with the Principal to develop, conduct, and report the results of an annual survey of parents, guardians, and teachers on issues related to the school climate and conditions; and

• provide advice to the Principal on any other major policy matters affecting the school, except on matters relating to collective bargaining agreements between the teachers and the Board of Education.

 

Section 3

Limitations Placed on the Advisory Function

In addition to School Governance Councils’ responsibilities, it is also important to recognize the limits of its advisory function. The duties of School Governance Councils do not entail activities including, but not limited to:

• managing the school;

• supervising staff;

• entering into contracts or purchase agreements;

• discussing inpidual issues between teachers and students and/or parents;

• determining student eligibility for school admission; or

• determining class allocations or student assignments.

 

Apart from their function as part of the Council, members have no inpidual authority.

Inpidually, voting members of the Council may not commit the school to any policy, act, practice or expenditure. No inpidual member of the Council, by virtue of holding office, shall exercise any administrative responsibility with respect to the school, or as an inpidual command the services of any school employee.

 

All powers of the School Governance Council lie in its action as a committee of the whole.

Inpidual Council members exercise their advisory authority/responsibilities only as they vote to take action at a legal meeting of the Council.

 

Section 4

Reconstitution of School

1. After being in place for three years, the Council may vote to recommend that a school be reconstituted using one of the following models for reconstitution:

• Turnaround

• Restart

• Transformation

• CommPact School

• Innovation School

• Any other model developed under federal law

 

2. However, the Council cannot vote to reconstitute a school if it was already reconstituted for another purpose, such as (1) the school was already reconstituted as a result of receiving a federal school improvement grant that was contingent on reconstitution; or (2) a reconstitution of the school was initiated by another source, such as the State Board of Education or the local or regional Board of Education.

 

3. The Board of Education shall within ten (10) days of receiving a recommendation from the Council for reconstitution hold a public hearing to discuss the vote of the Council. At the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Education or ten days after the public hearing, whichever is later, the Board shall conduct a vote to accept the model recommended by the Council, select an alternate model or maintain the current school status. (Other time lines are established in the statute regarding an alternative model chosen by the Board of Education and required discussions and the role of the Commissioner of Education.)

 

Article IX: Meetings of the Council

 

Section 1: Meetings

The Council shall meet regularly in accordance with a published schedule. Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Chairperson, the Principal, or by a majority vote of the Council. The Council shall prescribe the time, place and dates of its regular meetings. The schedule of the regular meetings shall be available to the general public and shall be posted in a manner available to the public at the school which should in addition include posting on the school web site.) The annual schedule of regular meetings shall be established at the Council’s meeting held in October.

 

All required notices of meetings shall be adhered to for all called meetings. The meetings of the Council are subject to the provisions of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, Connecticut General Statutes Section 1-200 et. seq.

 

Section 2: Place of Meetings

The Council shall hold its regular meetings at a facility provided within the school, unless such a facility accessible to the public, including disabled persons, is unavailable. Alternate meeting places may be determined by the Chairperson or by majority vote of the Council. Training meetings provided by the Board of Education may be held at any location designated by the Superintendent or his/her designee.

 

All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public unless specifically exempt under the

Freedom of Information Act.

 

Section 3: Notice of Meetings

Written public notice shall be given of all meetings at least 72 hours (3 days) in advance of the meeting. Changes in the established date, time or location shall be given special notice. All meetings shall be publicized in the following venues: school web site and Macdonough Messenger.

 

All required notices shall be delivered to Council and committee members no less than 72 hours,

and no more than 7 days in advance of the meeting by e-mail.

 

Section 4: Quorum

The act of a majority of the members present shall be the act of Council, provided a quorum is in attendance, and no decision may otherwise be attributed to the Council. A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.

 

Section 5: Agendas

The Council shall establish procedures by which parents, community members and teachers can have items placed on the agendas of Council meetings. These procedures shall not present any unreasonable hindrances for parents, community members or teachers who wish to place items on the agendas.

 

Section 6: Conduct of Meetings

Meetings of the Council shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly

Revised in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws or state law, or an adaptation thereof approved by the Council.

 

Section 7: Meetings Open to the Public/Public Participation

All meetings of the Council, and of committees established by Council, shall be open to the public. Notice of such meetings shall be provided in accordance with Section 3 of this article.

Comments by parents/guardians, community members or staff not on the Council will be permitted concerning any subject that lies within the jurisdiction of the Council shall be as follows:

1. Five (Three) minutes may be allotted to each speaker and a maximum of twenty minutes to each subject matter.

2. The Chairperson shall not permit actions which disrupt or interrupt the orderly conduct of the Council meeting.

3. The Council, by a majority vote, decides to cancel or extend the 20 minutes allotted per item of the agenda.

4. No speaker making an oral presentation shall include charges or complaints of a personal nature against any inpidual Council member or inpidual employee of the Board of Education, whether named or not.

 

Section 8: Voting Rights

Each voting member of the Council is entitled to one vote and may cast that vote on any matter submitted to a vote of the Council. Absentee ballots shall not be permitted.

 

Section 9: Minutes/Documents

The minutes of each Council meeting shall be recorded by the Secretary and shall include the names of the members present, a description of each motion or other proposal made, and a record of all votes. Each Council member shall receive a copy of the Minutes with the agenda for the next regular meeting, at which the Minutes shall be approved.

 

Minutes shall be made available to the public at the School office. A draft version of the Minutes shall be available at the school office within two days after each meeting, excluding any Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. All votes taken ay any meeting of the Council must be recorded and made available for public inspection within two days of the meeting. The Minutes of any emergency special meeting shall specify the nature of the emergency and shall be

available within three days of the meeting.

 

All documents created or maintained by the Council are subject to the provisions of the

Connecticut Freedom of information Act.

 

Article X: Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the Council, provided that

the amendments have been submitted in writing at the previous council meeting and are not

inconsistent with applicable federal or state law, or Board of Education policy.

 

Article XI: Immunity

The Council shall have the same immunity as the Board of Education in all matters directly related to the function of the Council.

 

Article XII: Conflict of Interest

No member of the Council or officer shall have an interest in any contract with the school district, affiliated with the school district unless such interest is specifically permitted by statute.

“Interest” shall mean pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a Board of Education member, officer or employee or their relatives resulting from a contractual relationship with the school system.

 

Article XIII: Training

The statute (P.A. 10-111, Section 21(g)) requires the Board of Education to provide appropriate training and instruction to members of the Council to aid them in the execution of their duties, as described in these bylaws. (An option open to boards of education is the utilization of Title I parent involvement funding, where applicable, to support the work of the Council.)

The Board of Education and the School Principal shall assist each new Council member to become familiar with and to understand the Council’s functions, bylaws, and procedures. The Council shall be responsible for the training of inpiduals elected and/or chosen to a subsequent Council.

 

Article XIV: Relationship to Parent Organization

The Council shall establish procedures by which there shall be close and continual communication with the school’s parent organizations (Parents in Action and the Macdonough PTA). This procedure shall be developed in cooperation with the parent organizations.

 

Article XV: Termination of Council

Only Boards of Education with a low achieving school due to failing to make adequate yearly progress in mathematics and reading at the whole school level are required to have a Council.

Current law does not contain any provision for ceasing the operation of a Council.

 

 

Macdonough School Governing Council Code of Conduct

 

1. I will be a staunch advocate of high quality free public education for all Connecticut children. In fulfilling my responsibilities, I will think of “children first”.

2. I will uphold and enforce all laws, rules, regulations and court orders pertaining to public schools. I will strive to bring any needed change only through legal and ethical procedures.

3. I will strive to help create a public school which meets the inpidual educational needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex, physical condition or social standing.

4. I will work unremittingly to help my community understand the importance of proper support for public education, whether it be in providing adequate finances, optimum facilities, staffing and resources, or better educational programs for children.

5. I will become fully informed about the nature, value and direction of contemporary education in our society. I will support needed change in the school.

6. I will strive to ensure that the community is fully and accurately informed about our school, and will try to interpret community aspirations to the school staff.

7. I will recognize that my responsibility is not to “run the school” through administration, but together with my fellow Council members, to see that they are well-run through the implementation of effective Board policies.

8. I will arrive at conclusions only after discussing all aspects of the issue at hand with my fellow Council members in a meeting. I will respect the opinions of others, and abide by the principle of majority-rule.

9. I will recognize that authority rests only with the whole Council assembled in a meeting, and will make no personal promises nor take any private action which may compromise the Council.

10. I will acknowledge that the Council represents the entire school community, and will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interests or partisan political groups. I will never use my position on the Council for gain of myself or my friends.

11. I will hold confidential all matters pertaining to schools which, if disclosed, might needlessly injure inpiduals or the school.

12. I will insist that all school business transactions be open and ethical.

13. I will strive to assist in the appointment of the best professional leader available when a vacancy exists in an administrative position at the school.

14. I will support and protect school personnel in the proper performance of their duties. I will strive to ensure that all personnel have not only the requisite responsibilities, but the necessary authority to perform effectively.

15. I will refer all complaints through the proper “chain of command” within the school and system.