As your recently elected President of the Cedar Springs Board of Education, I pledge to communicate as effectively and transparently as time, law, Board policy, good judgment, and circumstances allow. Today, I write to correct an error I unintentionally made during the last Board meeting, and to clarify Board policy.
During our District's last Board meeting, I did not allow an individual to speak during public comment because they had not signed our required comment form, as has been our consistent practice. Today, after consulting our Board bylaws and legal counsel, I realize that I should have allowed the comment. For this I apologize, and going forward, I will allow.
Completing the comment form helps me, as Board President, organize public comment. The purpose of our meeting is to conduct the business of the Board. An initial public comment period of approximately 30 minutes is placed on our agenda, so that we can hear the voice of the public. Going forward, if additional individuals wish to comment, I will work with the Board to clarify space during our meeting for those comments.
Additionally, citizens have asked that I provide clarity around the Board's position on individual statements made by Board members, outside of the Board meeting and duties. To do so, I encourage our stakeholders to review the Board bylaws located on our website. Board bylaw 0143 states that Boards act by a majority vote. Because the Board President is the official spokesperson for the Board, individual members are not speaking on the Board's behalf when speaking in their own individual capacity. Just as our students do not sacrifice their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse doors, our individual Board members retain their individual rights as citizens when they volunteer to serve our school community.
I invite you to view the District's strategic plan and Board policies as these documents represent the official position of the Board on a range of topics. These are posted on our website www.csredhawks.org and can be located under the "District" section of the homepage.
As a District, we welcome and value diversity within our students, staff, parents, community and Board. It's important that we recognize that the responsibility for diversity lives in each one of us separately, but when brought together, can drive excellence and strengthen our respect for each other.
I truly look forward to the continued opportunity to serve this fabulous district and work with our stakeholders to make the best decisions that best serve our students, school and community.
The Cedar Springs Public Schools Board role is to oversee and set school policy, hire and work in partnership with the Superintendent, and oversee the district budget. The School Board acts as one body to set policy for the District; the Superintendent and staff provide the leadership to implement Board policies.
The Board of Education is responsible for carrying out the mandatory laws of the state and where federal and state laws do not prohibit, the Board is authorized to establish and appraise district educational activities. The Board considers its most important functions to be in the categories of:
• Employment, evaluation and support of the Superintendent
The board is responsible for recruiting, hiring and evaluating the performance of the Superintendent of schools. The board exercises supervision through the Superintendent and does not manage individual staff members who are employed to assist the Superintendent in carrying out the instructional programming.
The Board is responsible for requiring and acquiring reliable information from administration and other sources which will enable it and the staff to work toward the continuing improvement of the education program. The Board is responsible for appraisal of the result of these programs and evaluating the effectiveness of its policies and their implementation.
In consultation with the Superintendent, the board is responsible for approval and adoption of an annual budget that will provide the financial basis for the buildings, furnishings, staff, materials, transportation and equipment needed to carry out educational programs. The board oversees the finances to assure proper use of, and accounting for, all district funds.
The board is responsible for determining school-housing needs; communicating these needs to the community; purchasing and disposing of properties; and for approving building plans that will support and enhance the educational program.
The Board is responsible for providing adequate and direct means for keeping the community informed about the schools and for keeping itself and the school staff informed about the wishes of the public.
The board acts as a court of appeal for school staff and students with issues that involve implementation of board policies. The board conducts hearings as appropriate in or to decide appeals of long-term student suspensions and expulsions or to consider recommendations of the Superintendent to suspend or dismiss a certificated employee.