Bellingham Public Schools’ Board of Directors sets Policy Governance policies, which focus on results or “ends” – what students and graduates should know, understand and be able to do. The board of directors is vested with the final responsibility for the setting of policies ensuring quality in the content and extent of its educational program and that such program provide students with the opportunity to achieve those skills which are generally recognized as requisite to learning. By governing at this level, the board holds the superintendent accountable for implementing the board’s vision by monitoring results through the use of data, reports and focused discussions. The work of the school board includes listening to the public and gathering their feedback about goals, standards and progress through community outreach linkages.
By law, the board is also responsible for adopting policy to:
- Establish performance criteria and an evaluation process for its superintendent, classified staff, certificated personnel, including administrative staff, and for all programs constituting a part of such district’s curriculum;
- Determine the final assignment of staff, certificated or classified, according to classroom and program needs and data;
- Provide information to the local community and its electorate describing the school district’s policies concerning hiring, assigning, terminating, and evaluating staff, including the criteria for evaluating teachers and principals;
- Determine the amount of instructional hours necessary for any student to acquire a quality education in such district, in not less than an amount otherwise required in RCW 28A.150.220, or rules of the state board of education;
- Determine the allocation of staff time, whether certificated or classified;
- Establish final curriculum standards consistent with law and rules of the superintendent of public instruction, relevant to the particular needs of district students or the unusual characteristics of the district, and ensuring a quality education for each student in the district; and
- Evaluate teaching materials, including text books, teaching aids, handouts, or other printed material, in public hearing upon complaint by parents, guardians or custodians of students who consider dissemination of such material to students objectionable.
In all other cases in accordance with policy governance, federal and state law, the board empowers the superintendent to develop new administrative policy and procedures or modify existing administrative policies and procedures without board review or approval. The superintendent will keep the board informed of changes at a minimum annually as part of EL Monitoring Report 1 – Expectations of Superintendent. This does not preclude the superintendent from deciding in some cases to bring policies and procedures to the board for review and action because of the board’s connection role in some of this work.
Applicable proposed new policies and proposed changes in existing policies, as defined above in 1-7 and by federal/state law, will be presented in writing for reading and discussion to the board. Any written statement by any person relative to a proposed policy or amendment should be directed to the board secretary. The board may invite oral statements from staff members or community members as an order of business. All new or amended policies will become effective upon adoption, unless a specific effective date is provided in the motion for adoption. Policies as adopted or amended will be made a part of the minutes of the meeting at which action was taken and will also be included in the district’s policy manual. Non-substantive editorial revisions and changes in administrative, legal and/or cross references need not be approved by the board.
The superintendent will develop and maintain a current policy manual online that contains the administrative policies of the district. Policies that do not need to be presented to the board for review and adoption by law or under policy governance, will become effective upon signature by the superintendent. On controversial topics or changes that significantly impact students, families, staff or other stakeholders, the superintendent will gather feedback from representatives in accordance with EL-1 Expectations of Superintendent and EL-3 Treatment and Communication with Public, Parents and Students.
All administrators will be regularly updated regarding policy and procedure changes, and this information will be maintained online for the public. The manual is intended as both a tool for district management as well as a source of information to community members, staff and others about how the district operates.
The superintendent will develop such administrative procedures as are necessary to ensure consistent implementation of policies. When a written procedure is developed or changed, the online policy manual will be updated.
RCW 28A.320.010 Corporate powers
RCW 28A.320.040 Bylaws for board and school government
RCW 42.30.060 Ordinances, rules, resolutions, regulations, etc., adopted at public meetings — Notice — Secret voting prohibited