Education board accepts bylaws

The Board of Education unanimously voted to accept three bylaw revisions during its Nov. 13 meeting, one of which gives board members opportunities to meet electronically when necessary.

Bylaw 9324.1 stipulates that the board may allow members to participate in meetings by telephone or other electronic means only if they are unable to physically attend a meeting due to personal illness or disability, a family or other type of emergency, or employment purposes.

Each participating board member would have to be able to “simultaneously hear each other and speak to each other during the meeting.” They must also be “audible or otherwise discernible” to members of the public attending the meeting.

“No meeting shall be conducted by electronic mail or any other form of communication that does not permit the public to hear, read or otherwise discern meeting discussion contemporaneously at the meeting location specified in the meeting notice,” reads the bylaw.

Electronic participation is not allowed in executive sessions, and members are not allowed to simply vote electronically — “they must be connected with the meeting throughout the discussion of business.”

Member development

Bylaw 9240 emphasizes the “importance of a planned and continued program of in-service education” for board members. Its revision requires board members to participate in development opportunities like conferences, workshops and retreats, in order to “develop leadership capabilities, become informed about current issues in education, and improve their skills as members of a policy-making body.”

Funds for participation in such events would be budgeted.

Committee of the whole

Bylaw 9131 gives the Board of Education the right to meet and work as a committee of the whole in informational discussions and explanatory sessions.

According to Superintendent Kevin Smith, board members may not meet and make decisions as they do in regular meetings, but they may have work and study sessions without taking any actions within those sessions.

Education board member Christine Finkelstein, who is on the board’s Communications, Alignment and Policy Committee, said the committee is continuing with “an overall review of all the bylaws.”

To view the Board of Education’s bylaws, visit http://bit.ly/educationboardbylaws