Working Agreements

The Board of Directors is the policy making body for the School District. To effectively meet the District’s challenges, the School Board and Superintendent must function together as a leadership team. To ensure accord among team members, effective group agreements must be in place. The following are the group agreements for the Board and Superintendent.

Board Job Description and Relationship with the Superintendent

  • Set the long-term direction of the District through the mission, vision, goals, and priorities.
  • Focus on policymaking, planning, and evaluation.
  • Maintain effective two-way communication with students, staff, and the public.
  • Understand that as an individual, a Board member has no authority.  It is when acting through a majority that the Board has influence.
  • Be accountable for the financial stewardship of the District, including aligning resources with goals and priorities, setting expectations, and monitoring progress.
  • Manage Board processes, including operating agreements.  Actively pursue opportunities to give and receive feedback regarding Board member performance as responsible communicators.  Participate openly and honestly in an annual self-assessment of the Board’s performance.
  • Deliberate and make decisions in accordance with public meeting law.
  • Set priorities for Board professional development annually.
  • Supervise the hiring, performance evaluation, and other personnel management processes related to the Superintendent.
  • Work with the Superintendent as a team, recognizing that the Superintendent is the Board’s advisor.
  • Respect the Superintendent’s responsibility to manage the day-to-day operations of the District and to direct employees in District and school matters.

Role of Board Leadership

  • Manage the Board’s processes; convene meetings; develop the Board agenda with the Superintendent, seeking Board member input; and execute documents, as appropriate.
  • Serve as the authorized spokesperson for the Board with regard to Board policy, process, and decisions.  The Chair may delegate this responsibility to other Board members and/or the Superintendent.
  • Communicate with individual Board members concerns shared by other board members regarding issues agreed to in the working agreements or group operating norms.
  • Facilitate the orientation of new Board members.
  • Assist the Superintendent in communicating important information to the full Board.  Keep Board members apprised of information exchanged with the Superintendent.
  • The Vice Chair will perform these duties when the Chair is not available.

Role of the Superintendent

  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the District.
  • Work as a team with Board members.
  • Work with the Board to establish a clear vision for the District and affirm it annually.
  • Collaborate with the Board to set annual District goals.
  • Work with the Chair and Vice Chair to effectively bring information and issues to the Board so that it can make proactive data driven decisions on policy and budget/revenue issues.

Meeting Operations and Decision Making

  • Attend regularly scheduled Board meetings unless prevented by sickness or an unavoidable cause.
  • Cooperate in scheduling special meetings and/or work sessions for planning and training purposes.
  • Read the updated “Corvallis School District Future Agenda Topics” as the pending agenda and planning record. This confidential document will be emailed to each Board member.
  • Communicate feedback regarding upcoming Board agendas to Board leadership or to the Superintendent at least two weeks prior to the scheduled Board meeting.
  • Prepare for Board meetings by reading materials ahead of the meeting and asking questions that you have of the Superintendent or members of the Executive Team prior to the day of the meeting, if possible. If, after you have asked questions, you intend to pull something from consolidated action, notify the Board Chair and/or Superintendent before the meeting.
  • Board Requests Regarding Staff Presentations
    • To facilitate adequate Board preparation for meetings, staff reports and presentations should be distributed as part of the Board packet prior to the meeting. Avoid sending additional reports to the Board after packets have been disseminated.
    • Develop a system to provide updates regarding the work of District committees.
    • Limit staff reports to introductory and additional remarks; avoid restatement of written reports or PowerPoint presentations.
    • Keep staff presentations succinct.
  • Make it a goal to make no new proposals on the night that the Board is scheduled to make a decision or take action. Communicate concerns or questions to Board leadership and the Superintendent prior to a public meeting.  Try to avoid surprises.
  • Cast a vote on all matters except when a conflict of interest arises.
  • Uphold decisions that have been made by the Board.

Communication

  • Operate as representatives and make decisions in the best interest of the whole District.
  • When a Board member receives an informal complaint, listen carefully and empathetically.  Help the person to understand the complaint process, and direct the person to solve the problem at the lowest level.
    • Please talk with the teacher.
    • Please talk with the principal.
    • Please talk with the Superintendent.
  • Formal complaints must be put in writing and signed by the complainant.  These are heard by the Superintendent or designee.  Complainants may appeal the Superintendent’s decision to the School Board.
  • If a complainant is unwilling to speak to the Superintendent, a Board member may share the issue and the source of the complaint, concern, or criticism of the District.  The Superintendent will keep the Board informant “source” confidential at the request of a Board member, but every effort should be made to encourage trust and open communication.  This is the best hope for full understanding and resolution.
  • When the Board receives communication from the community, the chair will respond or will delegate that responsibility to another Board member.  A “footnote” statement will be added to the bottom of the board chair’s email so that patrons understand that it is the practice of the Board that the chair will be responding on behalf of the board.

    The footnote will state, “The Board Chair responds to emails sent to the full board.  School board members only deliberate when gathered as a quorum as outlined in the Public Meeting Law.  To assure that board conversations and deliberations do not occur on email, the Board Chair will respond on behalf of the Board.  All Board members receive communications that come from the community and the response given by the Board Chair.”  All Board members will be included in responses made by the Board chair. Following the communication from the Board chair, other Board members may also respond if they wish.

  • When a single Board member receives a communication from a member of the public, s/he may respond to that patron as an individual.  The Board member may elect to forward the email and his/her response to the Board Chair or full Board if he/she wishes.
  • Responses to community communications should occur within 36-72 hours of receipt of the communication.  The chair will delegate if s/he is unable to meet this timeframe.
  • When a concern or problem arises, communicate one-on-one with the Board member.  If the issue is not resolved, communicate with the Board chair and finally with the Superintendent if necessary.