BBE(LOCAL) - BOARD MEMBERS: AUTHORITY
The Board has final authority to determine and interpret the policies that govern the schools and, subject to the mandates and limits imposed by state and federal authorities, has complete and full control of the District. Board action shall be taken only in meetings that comply with the Open Meetings Act. [See BE(LEGAL)]
When a proposal is presented to the Board, the Board shall hold a discussion and reach a decision. Although there may be dissenting votes, which are a matter of public record, each Board decision shall be an action by the whole Board binding upon each member.
Individual Authority for Committing the Board
Board members as individuals shall not exercise authority over the District, its property, or its employees. Except for appropriate duties and functions of the Board President, an individual member may act on behalf of the Board only with the express authorization of the Board. Without such authorization, no individual member may commit the Board on any issue. [See BDAA]
Individual Access to Information
An individual Board member, acting in his or her official capacity, shall have the right to seek information pertaining to District fiscal affairs, business transactions, governance, and personnel matters, including information that properly may be withheld from members of the public in accordance with the Public Information Chapter of the Government Code. [See GBA]
If a Board member is not acting in his or her official capacity, the Board member has no greater right to District records than a member of the public.
An individual Board member shall not have access to confidential student records unless the member is acting in his or her official capacity and has a legitimate educational interest in the records in accordance with policy FL.
A Board member who is denied access to a record under this provision may ask the Board to determine whether the record should be provided or may file a request under the Public Information Act. [See GBAA]
Requests for Records
An individual Board member shall seek access to records or request copies of records from the Superintendent or other designated custodian of records, who shall respond within the time frames required by law. When a custodian of records other than the Superintendent provides access to records or copies of records to an individual Board member, the provider shall inform the Superintendent of the records provided.
In accordance with law, the District shall track and report any requests under this provision, including the cost of responding to one or more requests by any individual Board member for 200 or more pages of material in a 90-day period.
Requests for Reports
No individual Board member shall direct or require District employees to prepare reports derived from an analysis of information in existing District records or to create a new record compiled from information in existing District records. Directives to the Superintendent or other custodian of records regarding the preparation of reports shall be by Board action.
At the time a Board member is provided access to records or reports that are confidential or otherwise not subject to public disclosure [see GBA], the Superintendent or other District employee shall advise the Board member of the responsibility to comply with confidentiality requirements and the District's information security controls.
Recognizing the need to provide service to constituents, the need of Board members to be answerable to constituents, and the need to improve District systems, the Board and the Superintendent shall together put into place a system for constituent service.
If employees, parents, students, or other members of the public bring concerns or complaints to an individual Board member, he or she shall refer them to the Superintendent or another appropriate administrator, who shall proceed according to the applicable complaint policy. [See (LOCAL) policies at DGBA, FNG, and GF]
When the concern or complaint directly pertains to the Board's own actions or policy, for which there is no administrative remedy, the Board member may request that the issue be placed on the agenda.
Compliance with State Law
The Board shall follow all state laws regarding Board involvement in the functions of management.
Constituents shall be defined as parents, students, residents, community and business leaders, as well as other stakeholders of the community.
Governance is the sole responsibility of the Board and includes ensuring the delivery of educational and support services through communication with the Superintendent. Governance is strategically based guidance and policy focused on effecting system improvement.
Management is the responsibility of the Superintendent and includes directing staff, allocating resources, administering programs, and providing support services to improve school system effectiveness and to successfully achieve District goals. The Superintendent shall design and implement predetermined processes to facilitate management's ability to resolve problems effectively and identify opportunities for system improvement.
System for Constituent Service
The system for constituent service shall include the following major features:
A protocol for handling constituent requests for information and assistance;
A primary contact person to whom Board members are to refer constituent service requests that they receive;
A method for documenting, tracking, categorizing, and analyzing requests;
A feedback process so that Board members know the resolution of requests;
Oversight of the system by the Superintendent or designee, who handles priority requests and keeps the Superintendent informed of matters that require his or her attention;
Periodic reports on constituent requests, related resolutions, and patterns in requests; and
Periodic reports on improvements to systems made, in whole or part, as a result of constituent service requests.
Protocol for Constituent Service
The District Constituent Service Flowcharts track the recommended process flow for constituent service requests. [See BBE(EXHIBIT)]
The protocol begins with a constituent request to a Board member for information or assistance. If the request is for information, the Board member shall provide the information, if known, or explain to the constituent where or from whom this information can be obtained following the flowchart in the exhibit.
If the constituent request indicates a system issue; i.e., a request for information that is unavailable or inadequately communicated and indicates a communication issue, then the Board member shall refer the issue to the Superintendent or designee for administrative action.
If the constituent requests assistance in addressing an issue or a problem, the Board member shall first evaluate the validity of the claim and follow the protocol in BBE(EXHIBIT)-B. If the request or complaint appears to be valid and is urgent, complicated, or has potential for major consequence, the Board member shall refer the request to the Superintendent or designee for administrative action.
If the request or issue is not urgent, the Board member shall clearly explain to the constituent the District's chain of command, clarify the difference between governance and management, and define the Board's role in constituent service. The Board member shall then direct the constituent back into the system to talk to the teacher or principal, transportation office, and the like. The Board member may need to provide the constituent with contact information. The constituent shall be invited to call the Board member again if a timely response is not received from District staff.
If the constituent does not receive a satisfactory response despite good faith efforts to resolve the issue with District staff, the issue shall be referred to the Superintendent or designee, who shall take appropriate administrative action.
The medium for communication remains the decision of the Board based on the type of service request. Only formal requests for information or assistance shall travel through the process detailed in the flowchart that is provided in BBE(EXHIBIT). Additionally, Board members shall not be involved in the resolution process of a constituent service request once it enters the process outlined in the flowchart.
Informal communication shall be utilized at the individual Board member's discretion. Examples of informal communication include personal contact as a result of incidental conversation that occurs during the normal course of a daily schedule, or the relay of a concern that was overheard, or any other matter that does not merit a formal request.
Formal communication shall be relayed through the constituent service policy that has been established and approved by the Board. Examples of formal communication include a letter, an e-mail, or a telephone call.
Reporting and System Improvement
This policy on constituent service is intended to direct requests for service through the proper channels to achieve resolution. In the event a Board member attempts to solve a constituent problem, obtain a favor, or influence a management decision, the Board President shall be notified. If deemed necessary by the Board President, that Board member's action shall be brought before the entire Board.
As directed by the Board, the Superintendent shall periodically present a summary to the Board that includes data related to constituent service requests, trends, conclusions, and recommendations for improvement. The report shall contain the most current information and shall also include comparative data when available.
A Board member who receives a call from the media shall direct the caller to the Board President or Superintendent and shall notify both of the call. If possible, media inquiries to the Board President shall be directed to the Superintendent or the District's director of communications.
Phone Calls and Letters
The Board encourages input from outside sources; however, anonymous calls or letters shall not receive the Board's attention, discussion, or response, and shall not result in directives to the administration.
Response to Letters
A Board member who receives a signed letter or e-mail shall forward it to the Superintendent. A written response using standard format shall be sent to the originator of the letter from the Superintendent via e-mail or postal service, whichever is most appropriate. An individual Board member may respond as he or she deems appropriate.
Visits to District Facilities
A Board member shall adhere to any posted requirements for visitors to first report to the main office of a District facility, including a school campus. Visits during the school or business day shall not be permitted if their duration or frequency interferes with the delivery of instruction or District operations. [See also GKC]