The primary role of the chair, other than to run meetings, is to be the voice of the board. The chair represents the collective will of the board to other community boards and commissions and to the public, including the media. The authority to chair is conferred by all members of the board – therefore, the chair is no more powerful than any other board member. The chair can be overruled at any time by a simple majority vote of the board.
Staff Communications to the Board (policy BG)
All formal communications or reports to the Board, or any Board committee, from staff members will be submitted through the superintendent. This procedure will not be construed as denying the right of any employee to appeal to the Board. In addition, this procedure does not restrict protected labor relations communications of bargaining unit members. The superintendent must be notified of the forthcoming appeal and the appeal process in accordance with the Board’s policy on complaints and grievances. Staff members are invited to Board meetings, which provide an opportunity to observe the board’s deliberations on matters of district operations.
Board Communications to Staff (policy BG)
All official Board communications, policies and directives of staff interest and concern will be communicated to the staff through the superintendent. The superintendent will provide appropriate communication to keep staff fully informed of the Board’s policies, deliberations, and actions.
Handling Board Correspondence
When Board members receive complaints or requests for action from staff, students or members of the public, the Board members will direct the individual(s) to the appropriate complaint policy. Such information will be conveyed to the superintendent. Letters or emails sent to the board will be responded to by the board chair.
Visits to Schools (policy BG)
Visits by Board members will be carried out only under Board authorization and with the full knowledge of staff, including the superintendent, principal and other appropriate supervisors. School visits by Board members will be regarded as informal expressions of interest in school affairs and not as “inspections” or visits for supervisory or administrative purposes. Board members visiting in any other capacity will follow usual procedures for visitors.
Board Communication Via Email or Group Text
Email has the potential to lead to improper (illegal) meetings under Oregon’s Public Meeting Laws. When a quorum of the board is discussing matters over which they may eventually take action, this discussion must occur in public with the appropriate notice. All emails are also subject to Oregon’s Public Records Laws. Therefore, it’s necessary to ensure that email is used properly to take care of necessary business and avoid its use when it could lead to a violation.
Appropriate uses for email/text:
• Dissemination of information to other board members with NO discussion. Oneway – no reply! (However, if the board ever discusses this topic at a board meeting, the material should later be included in that meeting’s packet.)
• Dissemination of information where the reply is not a matter or matters over which the board has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power, i.e. availability for a meeting.
• Polling of board members by a member of the administration or press or public. The results of the polling of the members is not shared with the other members.
Inappropriate usage of email/text by board members:
• Discussions between more than two board members on a matter over which the board has authority even though the number of school board members involved does not constitute a quorum.
• Forwarding of a school board member’s comments to another board member on a matter over which the board has authority.
• Polling the board members by a board member.