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School Board and Superintendent Working Agreements, 2020–21

The Board of Directors is the educational policy making body for Eugene School District 4J. The board’s primary responsibility is to establish policies for the 4J School District to guide practices, processes and programs with the goal of producing the highest educational achievement. The board is charged with accomplishing this goal while also being responsible for prudent management of available resources. The board must fulfill these responsibilities by:

  • Functioning primarily as a legislative body to formulate and adopt policy
  • Hiring and managing a superintendent to implement policy and run the district
  • Evaluating the results of the work of the district
  • Carrying out its functions openly and seeking the involvement of students, staff and the public during its decision-making processes
  • Honoring and respecting the trust and faith the community has placed in the board as individually elected officials by encouraging and soliciting participation and engagement of the community

To ensure student success, members of the school board and the superintendent agree to function together with integrity and commitment as a leadership team.

These working agreements do not seek or intend to restrict the rights of an individual board member, but rather to provide a set of guidelines, shared agreements and expectations among and between the individual members, the superintendent and district staff. As a board, there is accountability for these shared agreements in an effort to focus the work of the district. These agreements are intended to augment and detail section A and B of the Eugene School District 4J Policies. (See http://www.4j.lane.edu/board/policies)

Board Organization and Governance

  1. The board will work with the superintendent in a cooperative and collaborative partnership aligned toward a common mission and goals.
  2. The board will focus on the responsibilities of policy making, planning and evaluation of the superintendent, and fiscal oversight.
  3. The board will make decisions in the best interest of students and the district as a whole.
  4. The board will actively solicit input, listen to all perspectives and give careful consideration to all issues presented to the board.
  5. Individual board members have no authority to take individual action regarding policy or district and school administrative matters.
  6. Individual board members will respect decisions of the board. Each board member should express viewpoints, and then respect and abide by the vote of the majority.
  7. Each year the board will select a chair and vice chair, and this constitutes “Board Leadership”.
  8. Newly elected or appointed board members will be offered and expected to participate in orientation sessions to be provided by Eugene 4J staff and supplemented by outside training as deemed appropriate.

Meeting Agreements

  1. Board members will arrive in advance of the start time of meetings and will carefully review all meeting materials in advance of the meeting.
  2. Board meetings will begin at the designated start time and members will work to end meetings on time.
  3. Board members will attend all regular meetings of the board. Members will contact board leadership and the superintendent, in advance of the meeting if unable to attend. Calling in to meetings is an option but should be used only in rare occasions when in-person attendance is not possible.
  4. Board members will cast a vote on all matters before the board, except when a conflict of interest is identified. Abstentions are not allowed.
  5. Board meetings will be held only at accessible locations.
  6. Board meetings will be properly noticed and adhere to Oregon Public Meeting Law requirements as per Oregon Revised Statutes 192.610–192.690.
  7. The Board may hold an executive session as defined in ORS 192.660 and ORS 332.061. Board members must respect and adhere to the confidentiality of all matters and all materials discussed within an executive session of the board. Information shall not be shared with anyone outside of an executive session.

Duties, Responsibilities and Role of Board Leadership

  1. Board leadership is the annually elected chair and vice chair of the board. Terms for these roles begin on July 1 and end on June 30.
  2. The board chair and vice chair will meet regularly with the superintendent to develop, set, and review agendas for board meetings. A single board member will attend each leadership meeting and agenda review in a rotation format. The schedule of attendance at leadership will be included in the board calendar.
  3. Board leadership, in conjunction with the superintendent, will provide a list of board meetings and topics at least once a month.
  4. Board leadership will informally survey each member of the board to determine preference and interest for the various board committees. The chair will present the annual board assignments during a regular meeting of the board of directors and will seek ratification of these assignments at that same meeting. When making committee assignments, the chair will consider the preferences expressed by individual board members, and will strive to rotate assignments to maximize opportunities to gain a broader understanding of the district. At the same time, the board chair will assign mentor relationships with the student board representatives.  The chair retains the right to make these assignments should ratification not occur.
  5. Board members who are not the official appointee to a committee may attend meetings of any committee, but the board member(s) should take caution and be aware that four members of the board constitute a quorum of the board.
  6. Board leadership will be responsible for the board self-assessment.
  7. Board leadership will be responsible to ensure the annual evaluation of the superintendent occurs in a timely manner and is consistent with the superintendent’s contract.

Communication by Board Members

  1. Board member communication is subject to the Oregon Public Meetings Law as defined and established in ORS 192.610–192.690. Board members should not deliberate toward any public decisions in any format except for public meetings. A discussion by more than three board members in a non-public meeting on any board matter is not allowed.
  2. Board members will communicate directly with the superintendent when relaying a concern, complaint or problem received from a community member, Eugene 4J School District staff member or another stakeholder. Any request for information, data or reports, other than a simple distribution of an existing document or report, must be made through the superintendent.
  3. Information requests which require 15 minutes or more of staff work or staff resources will be referred by the superintendent to board leadership or the full board to determine if the request to use resources aligns with board and district priorities.
  4. When attending meetings or speaking directly to district staff, board members are expected to respect and understand their status as the elected leaders of the school district and how this position will be perceived. It is important to keep communication on district issues focused to the superintendent.
  5. Board members will communicate questions or concerns about agenda items to the superintendent and board leadership.
  6. The board chair or designee is the official spokesperson for the board. If a media request is made to another member who is not the chair, that member may speak with the media as an individual member, and, should inform the board as a whole.
  7. The board chair will be responsible to answer in writing all correspondence sent to the board. All board members will be copied on responses. However, board members should be cautious to abide by the Oregon Public Meetings Law (ORS 192) with regard to serial meetings via electronic communication; avoid the use of “reply to all”. The board chair will strive for a response timely response to
  8. In some instances, board members may have an existing professional relationship or volunteer relationship with schools, programs or Eugene 4J staff that necessitates interactions in the board member’s capacity as a private citizen or volunteer. The board member must clearly state the visit or interaction has no official board-related purpose. The board member should inform the superintendent and building administrator of this visit or interaction. When visits or interactions are as a part of a work or volunteer schedule, the board member should inform the superintendent, to the extent possible, of the schedule of meetings.
  9. Board members, at times, may wish to learn more about a specific topic, issue or program within the school district. These requests should first be made to the superintendent (see #2 above). If a site or program visit is requested, this should also be made first to the superintendent who can inform the building administrator and or program staff. Further, from time to time, building administrators or program staff may proactively invite board members to a site or program visit as learning opportunities; these are encouraged. Again, board members should be in communication with the superintendent when such requests are received and should be mindful of the Oregon Public meetings Law.
  10. With the popularity and availability of photography for social media purposes, photos of students in which students can easily be identified should not be posted without prior and explicit consent of the parent or guardian of the student.

Agenda Planning

  1. The agenda of each regular board meeting is developed in collaboration between the superintendent and board leadership and is based on an annual calendar and board goals set by the board at the summer board retreat.
  2. At each regular meeting of the board there will be an opportunity for members to request an item to be considered by the board. In order to better plan and manage staff and district resources, the request must be supported by at least three members of the board.  There will be a verbal vote on such requests to ascertain if there are three members in support of the request. The first step for staff response will be information included in the superintendent’s weekly memo.  If, at this point, a member would like to ask for a work session or “item for information” at a regular meeting of the board, support of at least three members will be needed to place it on the agenda at a future meeting. When the intent is to eventually create or amend board policy, the item will be researched and vetted by staff, and presented at the next reasonably available meeting as an “item for information”.  The proposed policy or proposed amendment will then be placed as an “item for future action” so as to ensure sufficient time to inform and receive comments from community members.  The next step, if the item is to be moved forward, will be the consideration of the matter as an “item for action.”
  3. When a work session, new policy or policy amendment request has been supported by at least four board members, the request will be reviewed by board leadership and will be placed on a future meeting agenda.
  4. The board chair will report to the body the status of agenda requests at the next regularly scheduled meeting, provided that there has been sufficient time to review the request with the superintendent and staff. In addition, the weekly memo from the superintendent will also include the “Working Calendar and Draft Agenda”.
  5. At the end of regular meetings at which there have been requests for more information or a work session on a topic, the chair will offer a summary of items which have been moved forward.
  6. Regular meeting agendas will include a short verbal report by the chair to preview upcoming meetings and the major topics to be considered.

Planning and Evaluation

  1. Board members will conduct an annual self-assessment of the board’s performance; the annual review ideally should be completed within the context of the board’s spring retreat.
  2. Board members will review the “Board of Director’s Guiding Beliefs and Values” statement and “Working Agreements” at least annually.
  3. Board members will participate in establishing annual expectations and goals for the superintendent.
  4. Board members will objectively evaluate the superintendent’s annual performance and provide appropriate feedback.
  5. The board will annually set goals for itself, which will be reviewed and evaluated within the agenda of the summer board retreat.

Approved October 21, 2020