There’s a notice at the Whitewater Unified School District website about a school board vacancy. (The original notice is embedded at the bottom of this page.)
As is his habit, board member Stewart has taken the announcement, modified the official notice on his own with links to board qualifications that he considers important, and posted it to his website.
All the district policies are online, but one might easily highlight a few for board members —
110 School District Vision, Mission and Core Values:
Every Graduate an Engaged Lifelong Learner
Whitewater Unified School District (WUSD), in collaboration with families and community, inspires students to achieve excellence in a safe, innovative educational environment.
Students as our #1 priority
High expectations for student achievement
Respect for and appreciation of human diversity
Excellence in teaching, leadership and service
School, community and family partnerships
Responsible planning and management of resources
Education as the foundation of a strong community
(No one should run, let alone serve, who does not begin first with thoughtful views on the district’s vision, mission, and core values.)
161 Board Member Authority
Individual members of the School Board have authority only when acting as a Board legally in session, and the Board will not be bound in any way by any action or statement on the part of any individual Board member, except when such statement is made or action is taken pursuant to specific instructions from the Board.
Individual members of the Board contacted by the media should feel free to respond, but no individual member of the Board has the authority to speak on behalf of the entire Board unless directed by the Board.
No Board member, by virtue of his/her office, will exercise any administrative responsibility with respect to the District or, as an individual, command the services of any employee of the District.
(No one member, even an aged and entitled one, speaks for all the board unless specifically instructed or directed.)
165 School Board Member Conduct/Ethics
School Board members are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical manner and in the best interest of their constituents. Relevant Wisconsin State Statutes include:
19.41 Declaration of policy
19.59 Codes of ethics for local government officials, employees and candidates
946.10 Bribery of public officers and employees
946.12 Misconduct in public office
946.13 Private interest in public contract prohibited
Board Operating Principles
School Board members choose to conduct meetings in an open, orderly manner by using the following guidelines:
The Board develops and reviews an annual agenda plan.
Board meeting agendas are developed by the Board President and District Administrator, with input from Board members.
Regular Board meeting packets are distributed the Friday prior to the meeting.
Individual Board members are encouraged to contact either the Board President or District Administrator in a timely fashion if they require additional background information.
The Board President conducts the meeting based on the approved agenda.
Board members can request an item be placed on a future agenda by contacting the District Administrator and/or Board President.
School Board members are committed to District communications that promote openness and understanding of the diverse perspectives of the community.
Provide opportunities for open discussion and feedback among the School Board, staff, parents, students and community members
Maintain confidential information
Be respectful of guests who present information to the Board
School Board members are responsible for the interaction that takes place when they function as members of the team.
Talk and act respectfully to each other
Invite and respect individual contributions
Maintain focus on issues, not individual(s), during conflict
Do not discount, dismiss, interrupt or name-call
School Board members recognize that it is essential to work together as a team.
Speak and act with integrity when dealing with each other and with guests
Treat each other and the District Administrator in ways that are trustworthy and supportive
Prepare for meetings, including reading information and directing questions to the District Administrator
Keep interactions positive at Board meetings
Adopt the norms of collaboration as a guideline for discussion at all meetings
School Board members are committed to relying on best practices, background data, research, budget impact, and any other relevant information (evidence) to make good decisions.
(These policies would reasonably exclude those who repeatedly interrupt others, don’t review agendas properly beforehand, and have a habit of pushing dodgy data in a way that fails meet one’s expectations of a competent high-school student.)
181 Rules of Order
All meetings of the School Board will be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised, as a guide, and will follow the generally accepted four principles of parliamentary procedure:
1. Majority rules. This principle has several components, starting with the concept that School Board members alone have no legal power. The Board, then, must act as a body for its decision to be binding. And, except in those areas specified by state law, the Board is bound by the decisions of the majority.
The majority rule principle is first one of practicality, since meeting time is too precious to allow every debate to run on until consensus is reached. However, the closer the Board can come to consensus, the better. It also is a way to strengthen and preserve the Board’s group identity because the minority is bound to support the majority’s action.
2. Equal opportunity decisionmaking. All Board members, according to this second principle, should have an equal chance to speak to the issue before the Board.
3. Decisions based on merit. The third principle states that the Board’s action should be based entirely on merit —- not on manipulation of procedural rules. Deliberation should focus on issues, not people.
4. Efficient proceedings. The first three principles are part of this fourth, which is augmented by these ideas:
a) Discussions should be orderly, with no Board member randomly or spontaneously interrupting another who has the floor.
b) Board members should proceed as though time is of the essence, wandering neither to the left nor to the right in personal reminiscences or redundancies.
c) Board members should know their rules of procedure and the principles behind them.
(Knowing the Rules of Order requires more than misapplying the provisions, failing to cite a rule properly, or insisting on one’s past, habitual misuse of a provision as a justification for a present use. Having done something many times in the past, but ignorantly and wrongly, shouldn’t be satisfactory.)
Best wishes to all, as there are so many good works to be accomplished.
The original and unedited notice follows —
Download (PDF, 157KB)