BAA(LOCAL) - BOARD LEGAL STATUS: POWERS, DUTIES, RESPONSIBILITIES
To complement and extend the statements of the legal duties, the Board has the responsibility for formulating broad public policy in community college education for the College District. It shall function as the legislative and policy-making body charged with the oversight and control of the College District's activities. The Board must be sensitive to the hopes and ambitions of the community and be able to adapt readily to community needs. The formulation and adoption of written regulations shall constitute the basic method by which the Board exercises its leadership in the operation of the College District. The Board shall delegate to the Chancellor the function of specifying required actions and designing the detailed arrangements under which the College District will be operated. The Board shall maintain continuous supervision of the College District through the study and evaluation of reports concerning the implementation of its policies. Board responsibilities shall be to:
- Adopt and periodically review a vision and mission statement that clarifies basic educational beliefs and educational responsibilities of the College District to the community.
- Determine the quality of professional leadership needed to carry out the philosophy and objectives of the College District.
- Establish clearly defined policies to carry out the mission of the institution.
- Review and take appropriate action on matters relating to site selection and physical plant development.
- Provide ways and means of financial support, approve the annual budget, and review and approve unbudgeted expenditures.
- Approve educational programs of the College District.
- When appropriate, consider and act upon administrative recommendations concerning appointment, retention, or dismissal of College District employees.
- Consider communications and requests from citizens and organizations on matters of policy, administration, and other items of public concern affecting the College District.
- Serve as a final adjudicating agency for students, employees, and citizens of the College District on matters of Board policy when appropriate.
- Bear the legal responsibility for all aspects of the operation of the College District.
The specific responsibilities of the Board are as follows:
- The Board will operate in all ways mindful of its Trusteeship obligation to the public. It will allow no officer, individual, Board member, or committee of the Board to prevent the fulfillment of this commitment.
- The Board expects ethical conduct from itself and its members. This includes proper use of authority and appropriate restraint whether acting individually or collectively in the position of a member of the Board.
- The Board will always act in the best interest of the College District and the community as a whole.
- Board members must maintain unconflicted loyalty to the interests of the citizens of the College District. This accountability supersedes any conflicting loyalty such as that to other groups and membership on other boards or staffs.
- The Board strongly values student and employee diversity. The Board seeks persons who will share its goal to eliminate educational inequality. The Board welcomes persons with varying ethnic, racial, cultural, national origin, age, political, religious, geographic, and economic backgrounds. The Board welcomes individuals regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or disability. The Board invites those from different backgrounds and those who have overcome historical inequality to apply for admissions and employment so they may represent the College District to different populations and circles of networks. Students and employees should proudly bring their respective experiences to the marketplace of ideas that the Board provides and seeks to foster. The Board values fairness and equality for all as well as mutual respect and tolerance. The Board encourages innovative ideas and creative accomplishments and wishes to broaden and deepen scholarly discourse, and to encourage students to become active participants in a democratic society. The Board is committed to its goals of equal employment opportunities for all individuals and lawful affirmative action for individuals when permissible.
- The Board intends that the College District, in the awarding of contracts for goods and services, shall make competitive opportunities available to all prospective suppliers including but not limited to new businesses, small businesses, and minority- and woman-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs).
- The Board believes that the College District serves students best by ensuring that the education provided is of the highest quality and relevance.
The Board's governance guidelines are as follows:
- The Board's major focus will be on the intended long-term impacts that the organization addresses, i.e., increasing educational attainment, not on the administrative or programmatic means of attaining them.
- The Board will direct, control, and inspire the organization through the careful establishment of policies and rules that reflect the Board's values and perspectives.
- The Board will cultivate a sense of group responsibility. The Board, not the staff, will be responsible for excellence in governing.
- When requesting information about the College District, members of the Board will make their requests to the Chancellor or designee.
Standards of Good Practice
In support of effective community college governance, the Board believes that:
- It derives its authority from the community and that it must always act as an advocate on behalf of the entire community;
- It must clearly define and articulate its role;
- It is responsible for creating and maintaining a spirit of true cooperation and a mutually supportive relationship with its Chancellor;
- It always strives to differentiate between external and internal processes in the exercise of its authority;
- Its Board members should engage in a regular and ongoing process of in-service training and continuous improvement;
- Its Board members should come to each meeting prepared and ready to debate issues fully and openly;
- Its Board members should vote their conscience and support the decision or policy adopted;
- Its behavior, and that of its members, exemplify ethical behavior and conduct that is above reproach;
- It endeavors to remain always accountable to the community; and
- It honestly debates the issues affecting its community and speaks with one voice once a decision or policy is adopted.
Nothing in these standards is intended to deprive any Board member of any protected right under the United States Constitution, including the First Amendment or the Texas Constitution.
The Board will periodically review its policies and update as necessary.
The Board is responsible for the development of the College District's strategic plan. [See AD(LOCAL)]
The annual budget guidelines are as follows:
- Financial planning for any fiscal period shall pursue the Board's policies and goals, promote fiscal integrity, and show a generally acceptable level of foresight.
- Proposed budgets that the Chancellor or designee present to the Board shall contain sufficient information to enable:
- Understanding of planning assumptions;
- Accurate projection of revenues and expenditures; and
- Separation of capital and operating revenues and expenditures.
- Proposed budgets that the Chancellor or designee presents to the Board shall reflect stated Board policies and goals within the parameters of conservatively projected revenues and a balanced budget.
- The College District should operate on a budget balanced with current funds except as the Board may give specific approval to use fund balance for nonrecurring expenses.
Management of College District Funds
The guidelines for management of College District funds are as follows:
- Board members must not use their positions to obtain employment by the College District or the furnishing of services or goods to the College District for or by themselves, family members, friends, or associates.
- The Board will secure an external assessment of the College District's internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting through an annual external audit.
- The College District will strive to maintain a prudent amount of undesignated fund balance – equivalent to at least 90 days of operating expenses – to ensure continuity in case of catastrophic loss and to maintain the most favorable credit ratings for financing debt.
- To ensure that public funds are put to their highest and best use in pursuit of the College District's purposes and goals, the Board's policy is to discontinue educational programs that are under-performing based on the Coordinating Board's evaluation criteria.
- The Board holds the Chancellor responsible for allocating the College District's resources, financial and other, in ways that provide the best return to the public in the form of educational opportunities that are of the highest quality and relevance.
Employment of Personnel
All Board authority delegated to staff is delegated through the Chancellor, so that all authority and accountability of staff – as far as the Board is concerned – is considered to be the authority and accountability of the Chancellor.
In accordance with Board policy BCG(LOCAL), the Board shall conduct a self-evaluation of Board and Board member performances.
In addition to the provisions of legal requirements, the Board is subject to provisions of its own policies and regulations and the expressed will of the electorate.