How a Board Works
What is a Board of Education?
A Board of Education is an elected body created by the New York State Legislature based upon the State’s constitutional obligation to operate a state-wide public school system. The school board is the employing agent for the District, formulates policies, approves the curriculum, builds the school budget, places expenditure and bonding requests before the voters and maintains the school buildings. Board members are elected at-large to overlapping three-year terms of office. An action by the Board carries the same weight as a local law passed by any other local governmental unit.
How is the Board organized?
There are nine Board members. The President and Vice-President of the Board are elected by Board Members for one year terms at the annual organizational meeting in July. The President conducts the meetings, acts as spokesperson for the Board, and performs various other legal functions. The Vice-President conducts the meeting in the absence of the President.
What is the role of the Superintendent?
The Superintendent of Schools is the Board’s principal advisor and as its chief executive officer the Superintendent is responsible for the execution of the Board’s policies and the operation of the school district.
Are meetings open to the public?
Yes, however, the Board occasionally holds executive (closed) sessions. Under New York’s Sunshine Law, the Board may call an executive session for the following purposes: personnel matters, negotiations, sale or purchase of property, matters involving litigation or matters required to be kept confidential by federal law or state statutes. At all other times an action of the Board must be taken in public session.
When and where are meetings held?
The Board of Education decides each July when and where meetings will be held. At this time Board meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, unless scheduled otherwise. The meetings start at 7:00 p.m. and are held at the District Office. Please check the Rondout Valley Calendar & Guide, District phone information line or local media for locations. Please call the District Clerk at 687-2400 Ext. 4803 if you would like a schedule of meetings. A list of scheduled meetings is also on this website. Special meetings are generally held at the District Office.
What happens at Board meetings?
The School Board meets to establish or amend policies and act upon the recommendations of the Superintendent. These recommendations can include personnel matters, building maintenance, curriculum and program matters as well as a review of the financial status of the district. Copies of the agenda are available at the meeting or by calling the district clerk.
Do citizens have a chance to speak at Board meetings?
There is an agenda item which sets aside time for public comment on issues before the Board or requiring Board action. The time may be limited at the discretion of the President. At other times the public can request an opportunity to speak at a meeting. If the Board approves a resolution to open the floor the public will be allowed additional time for public comment. Individuals addressing the board will be asked to state their names and addresses and the organization, if any, which they represent.
Presentations should involve only those matters which are of broad, general concern. Individual problems and complaints are best handled through administrative channels, with the Board acting only as a source of appeal beyond the level of the Superintendent.
Will the Board provide an immediate answer to questions or concerns voiced at Board meetings?
Probably not. Issues usually are more complex than that. If the question can be answered immediately, it will be. When matters of broad public concern are involved, however, the Board needs sufficient time to study all aspects and to hear others who have ideas on the issue. The Board will act as promptly as possible and will notify you when it reaches a decision.
What if I have a question, concern, or want some information?
The Board’s administrative staff can handle most questions and requests for information. Matters relating to an individual school should be directed to the building principal. If a complaint or problem is not resolved at the building level, it may be appealed to the higher levels; Eventually, matters may be taken to the Superintendent, and then the School Board if a solution cannot be reached. The school district’s records access officer is the School Business Administrator.