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School Board and Superintendent Working Agreements, 2019-20

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

The 4J School Board must carry out its functions openly and seek the involvement of students, staff and the public during its decision-making processes.

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 support decisions of the board. Each board member should express view points, and then support 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. There shall be training provided by the district for new board members.

Meeting Agreements

  1. Board members will arrive in advance of the start time of meetings and will carefully review all meeting materials.
  2. Board meetings will begin at the designated start time and work the agenda 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 ORS 192.610 – 192.690.
  7. The Board may hold an executive session as defined in ORS 192.660. Board members must respect and adhere to the confidentiality of all matters and 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. The board chair will make assignments of board members to committees and associated bodies and will assign mentor relationships of board members with student board representatives. Mentorship includes regular communication with students and assisting with board reports when students cannot attend meetings. (See board policy on student members for more information.)
  5. Board leadership will be responsible for the board self-assessment.
  6. 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 Oregon Public Meetings law as defined and established in ORS 192.610-192.690. Board members should not deliberate towards 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 or problem or when requesting information from staff.
  3. Board members shall not directly contact district employees, even if there is a previous relationship established. Requests for meetings must go through the superintendent.
  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 only spokesperson for the board. If a media request is made to another member who is not the chair, that member must contact the chair to decide how to handle the request.
  7. The board chair will be in charge of answering in writing, all correspondence sent to the board by the public. All board members will be copied on responses. The board chair will strive for a response within 48 hours of receiving the correspondence.
  8. Board members will contact the superintendent and building administrator prior to visiting a 4J facility. When planning a visit to the facility, respect and consideration should be given to the demands of work and student interactions.
  9. 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 superintendent and board leadership and is based on an annual calendar set by the entire board at a summer retreat.
  2. At each regular meeting of the board there will be an opportunity for any member to request an item to be considered for an upcoming meeting. A request for an agenda item can also be sent to board leadership for consideration via an email message.
  3. Each request will be reviewed by leadership and will be considered for placement on an upcoming agenda.
  4. If the decision is not to add the requested item to a meeting agenda or work session, an explanation of why not will be communicated to the individual or the board.
  5. Regular meeting agendas will include an item to preview upcoming meetings and the major topics.

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 June 19, 2019