Parents Allied with Children and Teachers

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PACT Charter School
7250 E. Ramsey Parkway
Ramsey, MN 55303
 205_School Committees of PACT Charter School Policy
         "General Rules of Conduct, Authority, and Accountability"
 Date created:
 Committee Approval by:
 Date Approved:  Reviewed:
 19951227  BRD  20170406  2016-2017

The establishment and operation of PACT Charter School committees are addressed in the 102 - PACT Bylaws. The following policy expands on those Bylaws. Refer to the current organization chart for active school committees.

One of the responsibilities of the Executive Director is to advise committees in their work. The Executive Director is to be generally aware of all committee action (through attendance and/or minutes), and may direct any school committee to reconsider a decision or policy before implementation or Board approval.

 

I.  TYPES OF SCHOOL COMMITTEES

A.  Board Committees

Board Committees shall consist of three types of Committees that report to the Board:

1.   An Elected Committee is a committee that has a limited number of voting members who are elected by the stakeholders. These Elected Committees may deal with sensitive, confidential or limited access information. Examples of Elected Committees are the School Board, the Personnel Committee (PRS), and the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC).

2.   An Appointed Committee is a committee that has a limited number of members who are appointed by the School Board. Some Appointed Committees may deal with sensitive, confidential, or limited access information. An example of an Appointed Committee would be the District Advisory Committee (DAC) and the School Improvement Taskforce (SIT).

3.   An Open Committee of the Board is a committee not having a fixed number of voting members. Membership on Open Committees is determined by staff assignment (see provision IV herein) or by attendance at three meetings out of the last six (with voting rights established at the third meeting). Attendance for any individual meeting will be achieved when a person has been present for more than 60 minutes (or the entire meeting if shorter than 60 minutes). All new members are required to sign a Conflict of Interest Form before casting any votes. Any parent or staff member may attend meetings and provide input to the Committee. Open Committees will provide input and recommendations to an Elected or Appointed Committee. Examples of an Open Committee are the Program and Curriculum committees.

B.  Administrative Teams

Administrative Teams shall be comprised in the same way as Open Committees and shall not be elected unless by Board approval.

An Administrative Team (hereinafter “AT”) is an open committee not having a fixed number of voting members. Membership on ATs is determined by staff assignment (see provision IV herein) or by attendance at two meetings out of the last four (with voting rights established at the second meeting) and with a signed Conflict of Interest Form. Attendance for any individual meeting will be achieved when a person has been present for more than 60 minutes (or the entire meeting if shorter than 60 minutes). Any parent or staff member may attend meetings and provide input to the AT. These teams will provide input and recommendations to Administration. Examples of ATs are Communications (COM), Wellness Team (WELL), Student Enrichment Team (SET), Fundraising Team (FUN), and Technology Team (TEC).

ATs can provide input and recommendations to an Elected or Appointed Committee though their primary function is to advise administration. All ATs are accountable to Administration.  

ATs are not subject to Open Meeting Law as they are not Board Committees nor do they report to the Board. They are advisory entities only.  However, in keeping with PACT’s Mission/Vision and Foundational Statements, their meetings shall be disclosed in advance and included in the published committee meeting calendar.

 C.  Task Forces

The Board of Directors, Board Committees, and Administrative Teams may commission a task force to accomplish specific task(s) and to report back to them as their commissioning agent.  The commissioning agent shall have authority to appoint members to the taskforce. Before establishing a task force, the commissioning agent should define the following:  

●    The process of selecting the chairperson (appointment by the commissioning agent or elected by the taskforce).
●    The specific task(s) to be accomplished.
●    Any elements to be considered by the taskforce.  
●    Timeline for accomplishing the task(s) – including when they should report back to the commissioning agent.  

At the first meeting of a Taskforce a Chairperson shall be selected if none were appointed. A Secretary shall also be selected if the Task Force has no Clerk assigned to it. A clerk shall be assumed to be assigned to taskforces unless the commissioning agent deems otherwise. Minutes must be kept of taskforce meetings. Taskforce members shall vote on critical matters considered by the Taskforce and on its final recommendations. Meeting Minutes should incorporate any votes by the Taskforce.

Interim reports by Taskforces will be deemed completed by the forwarding of their Minutes to the Commissioning Agent. But Final Reports shall be submitted in writing providing the following data:

1.   The purpose of the Taskforce;
2.   The dates the Taskforce met;
3.   The methodology employed by the Taskforce in reaching their conclusions (e.g., specific references to research sources, interviews,
      comparative studies, data review);
4.   Items considered but ruled out by the Taskforce;
5.   Conclusions and Recommendations of the Taskforce.

Recommendations made by a Taskforce must be ratified by the Commissioning Agent before implementation. The Taskforce should be formally disbanded by vote of the Commissioning Agent once the task has been satisfactorily completed.

Notices of meetings of taskforces shall be established by the commissioning agent. In the absence of any direction on this issue the notice requirement applying to the commissioning agent shall apply to its taskforce.

 

II.  SCHOOL COMMITTEE PROCEDURES

All committees are ultimately accountable to the School Board.

All Administrative teams are accountable to Administration.

All Board Committees and Administrative Team meetings shall be published in the school committee meeting calendar. A committee meeting calendar will be published prior to the upcoming school year, which will cover the period August through July. Committee meeting times will be decided by committee meeting chairs and administration. School committees should make every effort to abide by the times and dates posted for their meetings to avoid disruption. Meetings should only be rescheduled for good cause, except for taskforces, which shall be held to a lesser standard. Board Committee Meetings scheduled outside the committee calendar must have 72 hour notice in advance with electronic notification given to all stakeholders who request it. Any parent, staff, or interested party may attend any meeting of PACT’s school committees unless not permitted by law.

Board Committee and Administrative Team procedures shall be uniform and are set forth as follows.

 

A.  Meeting times and Dates

Regular meetings of Board Committees and Administrative Teams shall meet on Thursdays during times when school is not in session. All meetings shall automatically be adjourned at 10 pm CST unless there is a unanimous vote to continue the meeting. Taskforces are not subject to the previous provisions. 

B.  Agenda

Board Committees shall utilize the Committee Agenda Template (See attached). Administrative Teams may utilize a more informal agenda template but it must have a written agenda for its meetings. The order of an agenda may be changed at the meeting by two-thirds vote when necessary (e.g., to accommodate a speaker, presentation, or controversial topic).

It shall be the standard practice of Board Committees and Administrative Teams to publish their agenda at least 48 hours prior to their regularly scheduled meeting date and 72 hours prior to any Special Meeting.

Once the agenda is posted, no additional changes can be made until the meeting. Once a meeting has begun and before the agenda has been approved the agenda may be changed with a simple majority. Once approved the agenda can only be changed with a unanimous vote. The intent of this practice is to promote communication and informed discussion between the board, committees, administrative teams, parents, teachers, students, and other involved parties.
         
Items requiring a vote will be indicated on the Agenda. Affected parties are encouraged to review and become familiar with the issues relating to these items prior to the meeting. Possible options on a vote would be passage, rejection, or postponement of the matter.

In cases where a matter is voted on, which did not originally appear on the posted agenda, that matter shall be subject to a vote for reconsideration at the request of one voting member at the next meeting. This request for reconsideration shall be a new posted agenda item.
          
Publishing of the agenda entails posting the agenda on the PACT website and by email when requested.

Decision-making:  Recommendations for changing or implementing a new policy, program, or part of a program that would have a significant impact to the school, which would require a vote of the school committee, should typically be discussed at least at one prior meeting of a school committee. It is understood that committees who do not meet monthly would have a more difficult time complying with this preference and thus shall not be subject to this provision. It is also understood that emergency situations arise requiring a more timely decision. When this occurs, attempts will be made to communicate through electronic means to those who would be immediately impacted by such a decision. Administration will determine what constitutes “an emergency” and who would be immediately impacted. A school committee may determine by a unanimous vote to move an item from Action to Discussion or Discussion to Action when deemed to be appropriate based on the circumstances.

 C.  Rules

Membership:  See above Article I.

Quorum:  A minimum of three voting members, with at least one parent member and one teacher member, must be present to constitute a quorum of any school committee.

Voting:  Members of a school committee shall exercise one vote and must be present to cast that vote. All votes shall be public (whether by show of hands or voice vote). A roll call vote shall always be in order at the request of one member. Approval of a measure requires a simple majority vote unless Roberts Rules of Order require otherwise with the exception of the Elementary (EPC) and Secondary (SPC) Programing committees. EPC and SPC require a simple 2/3 majority. Secondary students through Student Council are part of the SPC voting calculation. They must vote as a single unit. (If three or more members are present and are in disagreement, the majority carries. If there is no majority then the vote is an abstention vote and does not count in the overall vote totals.) In order to minimize conflicts and/or perceived influence on the decision-making process, Board members may not vote on any school committee with the exception of the Board and the Long Range Planning Committee.

Open Microphone/Received Communication:  Open Microphone is limited to 5 minutes per speaker. All Open Mic speakers/received communication submitters must identify themselves for the record.

Joint Sessions:  Joint Sessions are defined as two different Board Committees meeting together to consider a common agenda item. The Chairperson for each committee shall collaborate to determine the Agenda for the Joint Session. Joint Session Agenda items shall appear on each committee’s regular agenda. Teachers and non-parent staff hold ½ of the total votes; Parents hold ½ of the total votes; parents of PACT students who are also teachers at PACT, but at a level in which they are not assigned are counted in the parent votes; other parent staff are counted in the parent votes; divided equally, which may be fractional (formula sheet attached). Secondary students must vote as a single unit on the JPC through the Student Council. (If three or more members are present and are in disagreement, the majority carries. If there is no majority then the vote is an abstention vote and does not count in the overall vote totals.) The Student vote counts as one vote for Teachers and as one vote for Parents. For example, if students were in favor of a motion, then one vote would be entered in favor for Teachers and one vote in favor for Parents. Approval of a measure requires a simple 2/3 majority. In the event of impasse, the Board of Director shall consider the matter. Any person who is a member of both committees shall have one vote at a joint session. When voting membership is earned on both committees the member will notify the chairs as to which committee he/she will be casting their vote.

Abstention Votes:  Votes in abstention will not be counted in the overall vote total.

Parliamentary Procedures:  Robert’s Rules of Order shall control proceedings unless policy determines otherwise.

Minutes

a.  Detail of Minutes.  Clerks will provide a brief summary of each topic along with the motion and vote.

b.  Approval of Minutes.  When paid clerks are utilized to take Minutes, very few changes in the Minutes should be occurring as a rule. Clerks are to present their initial Minute drafts to the school committee Chair (or their designee) and Administrative Representative before presenting to the school committee as whole. After conferring with the Admin Representative, Chairs shall have some editorial discretion to request changes of the initial draft Minutes when it potentially would involve breaches of confidentiality, release of protected or private data, slanderous material or expose the school to liability. A revised or second draft of the Minutes, if any, would then be presented to the school committee as a whole for approval. Clerical errors (typos) should be reported directly to the Clerk in advance of the meeting, whenever possible, and the Clerk shall summarily correct the error. If the Clerk is of the opinion that the correction goes beyond the label “clerical error”, the clerk shall refuse to make the change, and the change must then be forwarded to the school committee as a whole for action. Substantive changes to Minutes should be limited to factual errors.

D.  Officers

a.  Election.  Each school committee shall elect their own officers from within their membership, before their last meeting of the school year1.  Officers shall primarily consist of the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, with the option of adding a Secretary. The chairperson or vice-chairperson of school committee shall be a parent unless not achievable. All officers must already be members of the committee to be able to run for a position.

b.  Duties.  The Chairperson shall be responsible for establishing agendas, calling and facilitating a meeting; and ensuring follow through on subsequent action. All officers shall attend an annual PACT sponsored Officer Training course. The Vice-Chairperson shall assume the duties of Chairperson in his/her absence and shall assume the duties delegated to him/her by the Chairperson.

c.  Officer Vacancy.  The oversight committee or the Administrator shall ensure that essential tasks are completed if there is no functioning chairperson or vice-chairperson of a school committee.

E.  Appeals Process

a.  Board Committees.  Decisions of Board Committees are subject to review and approval by the School Board.

b.  Administrative Teams.  Decisions of Administrative Teams are advisory to administration and shall not be subject to review by the School Board unless petitioned for by two-thirds of its members.

F.  Budget

Any budget request by a school committee shall be presented to the Budget and Finance Committee in accordance with the 314 - Annual Budget Process Policy. Committees will operate within their budget unless exceptions are approved the Board.

G.  Procedural History Requirement

School committees advancing recommendations to another committee or their oversight body will be required to submit a procedural history of the measure recommended for approval. A procedural history shall consist of the following:

a.    Minutes of all relevant proceedings (of all school committees involved to date) that addressed the recommended matter; and
b.    Relevant communications related to the recommended matter; and
c.    A motion tracker report, if such a system is being utilized at large.

 

III.  COMMITTEE CREATION AND ALTERATION

New committees, whether Administrative or Board, may be created by the Board to meet additional needs. The Board may dissolve existing committees if they are no longer needed. Administrative Teams are governed by Administration, however membership criteria and dissolution of such committees may only be addressed by the Board of Directors.

 

IV.  COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS

Administration will make best efforts to assign teachers (who require committee involvement as part of their job description) to all school committees (except Curriculum and Program) in an effort to balance voting representation across departments. Curriculum and Program Committee appointments shall be made by the department teacher team.

 

V.  LIMITATIONS ON CHAIR POSITION

A person may not serve as the permanent chair more than one committee. A person may concurrently serve as permanent chair of a committee and chair of a taskforce.

For periods of transition, short-term need or due to the inability to find another chair, a person may serve as acting chairperson of a committee while serving as chairperson of another.

The School Board may remove any committee member whose actions are unnecessarily disruptive to committee proceedings.

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1The District Advisory Committee and Committee for School Improvement shall elect officers once staff assignments are published (this election usually happens in the fall).