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School Board Governance: An Introduction

Authority:

The Board of Education is constituted, authorized, and governed by the statutes of the State of New Jersey, Title 18A. The Board of Education shall exercise its rule-making authority by adopting bylaws and policies for the organization and operation of the school district.

Executive Authority:

The Board of Education shall exercise its executive power in part by the appointment of a Superintendent as Chief School Administrator, who shall enforce the statutes of the State of New Jersey, rules of the State Board of Education, and policies of this Board.

Responsibilities:

The Board shall perform all acts and do all things, consistent with law and the rules of the State Board, necessary for the proper conduct, equipment and maintenance of the public schools of the district.

Boards operate through policy to be effective and efficient, and to avoid appearing to be arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. All district policies are public documents.

Members of the Board of Education are elected by voters in the Chesterfield, Mansfield, North Hanover, and Springfield communities. Members are elected to three-year terms and normally three seats are up for election each spring. The nine-member Board is committed to the District Mission:

The mission of the district, in partnership with home and community, is to provide a safe environment in which to prepare all students to achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards at all grade levels and become creative, independent, life-long learners, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and responsible citizens in a rapidly changing and diverse global community.

Board Meetings:

There are typically two Board meetings a month. The first meeting of the Board is a work session and the second meeting is the regular meeting. The work session provides the Board an opportunity to discuss each agenda item and request additional information on specific items. Official Board action is usually not taken during the work session. The Board's regular meeting consists of a 'consent agenda' where agenda items which have been previously discussed at the work session are voted on in a single resolution at the end of the meeting. Both of these meetings are open to the public. Please click on the Board Meeting Dates" link to the right to review the scheduled Board meetings for the current school year.

The Board also meets in committees on an 'as needed' basis. The purpose of the committee meetings is to examine a specific topic and report back to the full Board at the next Public meeting. Please click on the "Board Committee" link to the right to review the committee structure in place.

Both meetings provide opportunity for community members to observe the workings of the Board. During the public meeting, the public is invited to address the Board during two public comment sections in the agenda. Each participant is asked to give his/her name and address prior to making a statement.

Code of Ethics for School Board Members:

The members of the Board of Education recognize that they hold authority not as individuals but as members of the Board. In order to make a clear public statement of its philosophy of service to the pupils of the district, the Board follows a code of ethics:

  1. I will uphold and enforce all laws, state board rules and regulations, and court orders pertaining to schools. Desired changes should be brought about only through legal and ethical procedures.
  2. I will make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain public schools which meet the individual needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex or social standing.
  3. I will confine my board action to policy making, planning and appraisal and I will help to frame policies and plans only after the board has consulted those who will be affected by them.
  4. I will carry out my responsibility, not to administer the schools, but, together with my fellow board members, to see that they are well run.
  5. I will recognize that authority rests with the board of education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action which may compromise the board.
  6. I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups or to use the schools for personal gain or for the gain of friends.
  7. I will hold confidential all matters pertaining to the schools, which, if disclosed, would needlessly injure individuals or the schools. But in all other matters, I will provide accurate information and, in concert with my fellow board members, interpret to the staff the aspirations of the community for its schools.
  8. I will vote to appoint the best qualified personnel available after consideration of the recommendation of the chief school administrator.
  9. I will support and protect school personnel in proper performance of their duties.
  10. I will refer all complaints to the chief school administrator and will act on such complaints at public meetings only after failure of an administrative solution.