BOARD POLICY #9
Board of Trustees Palliser Regional Schools
November 28, 2017
The Board of Trustees are to conduct meetings in accordance with the requirements of the School Act. The Board has adopted procedures in order that the business of the Board can be conducted in an orderly and efficient manner.
Board meetings are open to the public, however, if at any time when public interest is best served by private discussion of specific in-camera session will be held. Having members of the public make presentations at board meetings may enhance communication.
The following procedures are intended to facilitate effective and efficient Board meetings.
Wards are established as per Ministerial Order 115/94. Any changes to wards or to the composition of the Board shall be done in consultation with the public and will require final approval by the Province.
- Organizational Meeting
- The core elements are covered by the Local Authorities Elections Act
- The Superintendent or designate shall act as Chair of the meeting for the purpose of the election of the Board Chair. Upon election, the Board Chair shall preside over the remainder of the organizational meeting. The election of the Board Chair shall be for a period of one (1) year.
- The organizational meeting shall, in addition:
- Elect a Vice Chair and Alternate Vice Chair
- Establish the location, dates and times for regular Board meetings and any additional required meetings;
- Create such standing committees of the Board as are deemed appropriate and appoint members;
- Appoint Board representatives to the various boards or committees of organizations or agencies where the Board has regular representation, as appropriate;
- Establish trustee per diems, subsistence, convention and mileage rates;
- Review Board member conflict of interest stipulations and determine any disclosure of information requirements;
- Address other organizational items as required.
- All elections shall be conducted by secret ballot unless there is unanimous agreement among trustees to use a show of hands.
- Regular Public Meetings
- Regular meetings of the Board will generally be held in public unless a majority of the trustees present at the meeting are of the opinion that it is in the public interest to hold the meeting or part of it in private (see section 5 In-Camera Session).
- Unless there has been a motion passed by the required majority within the prescribed time extending the Board meeting, all matters of business which appear on the Board's meeting agenda and which have not been dealt with at the time shall be deemed to be tabled until the next regular meeting of the Board.
- All trustees shall notify the Board Chair or the Superintendent if they are unable to attend a Board meeting.
- All trustees who are absent from three (3) consecutive regular meetings shall:
- Obtain authorization by resolution of the Board to do so; or
- Provide to the Board Chair evidence of illness in the form of a medical certificate respecting the period of absence.
Failure to attend may result in disqualification.
- Regular public meetings of the Board will not be held without the Superintendent in attendance.
- No resolution, act or proceeding of the Board is binding unless adopted at a meeting at which a majority of the Board is present.
- Special Public Meetings
- Special public meetings of the Board may be held from time to time as provided for under Section 67 of the School Act.
- Special public meetings will not be held without the Superintendent in attendance.
- In-Camera Sessions
The School Act uses the term private for non-public meetings. Roberts Rules of Order uses the term executive session for the same distinction. The term in-camera is most commonly used and is synonymous with the other two terms.
The Board believes that its fundamental obligation is to preserve and enhance the public trust in education generally and in the affairs of its operations in particular. The Board believes this trust is preserved through the conduct of Board meetings which are open to the public, but at the same time recognizes that occasions may arise when it is in the best public interest to discuss sensitive matters in in-camera sessions.
The Board reserves the right, within the constraints of statute, to hold in-camera sessions. Such sessions shall be convened only by proper resolution of the Board. Such resolutions shall be recorded in the minutes of the Board and shall specify those individuals eligible to attend. The reason for the in-camera session shall be stated prior to the session and shall be limited to discussion pertaining to:
- Individual division students;
- Individual division employees;
- Collective bargaining/contract negotiations and salary reviews;
- Litigation issues;
- Legal advice (client-solicitor privilege);
- Acquisition/disposal of property; and
- Other matters that the majority of trustees feel would not be in the public interest to discuss in open meeting.
In accordance with the relevant sections of the School Act, such sessions shall be closed to the public and press. The Board shall only discuss the matter which gave rise to the in-camera meeting. Trustees and other persons attending the session shall maintain confidentiality and shall not disclose the substance of deliberations at such sessions.
The Board shall, during the in-camera session, adopt only such resolution as is required to reconvene the Board in an open public meeting.
- Agenda for Regular Public Meetings
- The Board Chair, in consultation with the Vice Chair and Alternate Vice Chair (as required) and Superintendent and/or designates, is responsible for establishing the agenda for all regular public meetings of the Board. All Board members may attend meetings for establishing the agenda.
- The agenda will be supported by copies of letters, reports, contracts and other materials as are pertinent to the business which will come before the Board in the performance of its duties. Each action item will include a clear recommendation.
- Items may be placed on the agenda in one (1) of the following ways:
- By notifying the Board Chair or Superintendent at least ten (10) days prior to the Board meeting.
- By notice of motion at the previous meeting of the Board.
- As a request from a committee of the Board.
- A quorum of the Board, prior to the approval of the agenda, may request that the Board Chair add an item.
- The agenda package containing the agenda and supporting information will be distributed to each trustee at least (one week) seven (7) days in advance of regular Board meetings.
- Emergent issues that require Board action may arise after the agenda has been prepared. The Board Chair, at the beginning of the meeting, shall ask for additions to and/or deletions from the regular pubic meeting agenda prior to agenda approval. Changes to the agenda may be made by a majority of those present.
- The Board will follow the order of business set by the agenda unless the order is altered or new items are added by agreement of the Board. The regular order of business shall be as follows:
- Call To Order
- Adoption Of Consent Agenda (* Items May Be Moved To Action On Request).
- Action Sheet
- Move To In Camera
- Motions Arising From In Camera
- Adoption Of Board Meeting Minutes
- Citizens Forum
- Information Items
* Alberta School Boards Association
* Public School Boards' Association
* Board-Teacher Advisory Committee
* Audit Committee
* Labour Relations Negotiating Committee
* Wall Of Fame Committee
* Trustee Round Table Reports
- Action/Discussion Items
- During the course of the Board meeting, the majority of trustees present may request that the Board Chair place items before the Board for discussion. The Board may take action on such items.
- The list of agenda items shall be posted on the division website and be available in the division office. Any elector may inspect the agenda and request a copy.
- A Citizen’s Forum shall be scheduled for 10:45 AM for the purpose of allowing individuals to address the Board.
- Individuals shall be required to identify themselves and the organization that they represent.
- Comments shall be limited to a maximum of five (5) minutes and subject to the authority of the Chair. The Board will not entertain discussions on personnel, legal, labour or land matters.
- Trustees shall be permitted to ask questions of clarification.
- Minutes and Records
The Board will maintain and preserve by means of minutes a record of all its proceedings and resolutions. The process is outlined in Appendix A.
- Motions – See Appendix B
- Delegations to Board Meetings
The Board believes that it has the responsibility to encourage members of the public to bring concerns relating to educational matters to regular meetings of the Board. The Board also believes it has a responsibility to conduct regular public meetings of the Board in an orderly and efficient fashion. The Board will receive representations and delegations on any subject pertinent to Board business provided the item has been placed on the agenda.
- Individuals or groups wishing to make representation to the Board:
- Shall advise the Superintendent of the nature of the matter to be discussed with the Board; and
- Shall be granted by the Superintendent an appointed time on the meeting agenda in which to make representation if, in the opinion of the Board Chair and the Superintendent, the matter is pertinent to Board business.
- Normally, and excepting items raised pursuant to section 5 (In-Camera Session) of this policy, the following procedures will govern the conduct of the hearing:
- The delegation may make its presentation in writing and/or orally.
- The delegation shall, during its meeting with the Board, observe the rules of parliamentary decorum.
- The delegation shall be entitled to complete its presentation, preferably within fifteen (15) minutes, without questioning or comments from the Board.
- Upon completion of the presentation the Board Chair shall allow, for a maximum of fifteen (15) minutes, trustee questions of the delegation.
- Upon completion of the question period, the Board Chair shall inform the delegation when the decision will be made.
- The Board will set aside 15 minutes on each agenda for a question period. Interested persons may raise relevant issues. Each person will have up to five minutes. This agenda item shall be held at the same time during the meeting.
- Individuals or groups wishing to make representation to the Board:
- Trustee Remuneration and Attendance at Meetings, Conferences, Conventions and Seminars
Trustees will be required to attend various conferences, conventions, seminars and meetings in their capacity as trustees. Funds will be identified in the annual budget for transportation, accommodation and subsistence for trustee participation in the above activities. The Superintendent shall provide reports to the Board on the status of this account as requested.
- Approved activities include regular and special public Board meetings, Board committee meetings, Board retreats and workshops, division-wide school council meetings, conventions, conferences, seminars, workshops, meetings with government officials and the conduct of Board-related business.
- The division shall pay or reimburse trustees for the expenses related to registration fees, transportation (CRA rates will apply), parking, meals and accommodation.
- Should any issue arise with a trustee’s claim, the issue shall be forwarded to the Board Chair for his/her interpretation. If a trustee is in disagreement with an interpretation made by the Board Chair, he/she may appeal it to the Board.
- The Board-approved document entitled Board of Trustees Remuneration outlines the necessary details with regard to reimbursing trustees for their time spent carrying out the business of the Board. This document is available from the Superintendent.
- Trustee Conflict of Interest
- The trustee is expected to be conversant with Sections 80 to 91 of the School Act.
Scope and Limitations of Superintendent:
The Superintendent attends all regular public Board meetings. He/she may be excluded from an in-camera session.
Information and Monitoring Requirements:
Annual Board Evaluation
Annual Evaluation of Trustees
- The minutes shall record:
- Date, time and place of meeting;
- Type of meeting;
- Name of presiding officer;
- Names of those trustees and administration in attendance;
- Approval of preceding minutes;
- All resolutions, including the Board’s disposition of the same, placed before the Board, are to be entered in full;
- Names of persons making the motion;
- A brief summary of the circumstances which gave rise to the matter being debated by the Board;
- Points of order and appeals;
- Summarized reports of committees;
- Recording of the vote on a motion (when requested pursuant to the School Act); and
- Trustee declaration pursuant to the School Act.
- The minutes shall:
- Be prepared as directed by the Superintendent;
- Be reviewed by the Superintendent prior to submission to the Board;
- Be considered an unofficial record of proceedings until such time as adopted by a resolution of the Board; and
- Upon adoption by the Board, be deemed to be the official and sole record of the Board's business.
- The Superintendent shall ensure that, upon acceptance by the Board, appropriate initials are appended to each page of the minutes and that appropriate signatures and the corporate seal of the division are affixed to the concluding page of the minutes. It is the responsibility of all trustees present at a meeting to check the minutes for errors or omissions.
- The Superintendent shall establish a codification system for resolutions determined by the Board which will:
- Provide for ready identification as to the meeting at which it was considered; and
- Provide for cross-referencing with resolutions of similar nature adopted by the Board at previous meetings.
- As part of its ongoing effort to keep staff and the public fully informed concerning its affairs and actions, the Board expects the Superintendent to institute and maintain effective and appropriate procedures for the prompt dissemination of information about decisions made at all Board meetings.
- The approved minutes of a regular or special meeting shall be posted to the website as soon as possible following approval. The Superintendent or designate is responsible to distribute and post the approved minutes.
- All committees of the Board, unless otherwise directed, shall prepare a record of their proceedings and submit them to the Board as required.
- The following records and documents will be kept on file at the division office and be made available to electors upon request:
- The agenda of any regular or committee meeting of the Board;
- Approved minutes of all Board meetings;
- Records of the proceedings of all Board committee meetings, except those that relate to individual employees and students;
- The annual budget approved by the Board;
- All legal agreements entered into by the Board, exclusive of student or employee records or contracts;
- The division’s current Three-Year Education Plan;
- The division’s current Annual Education Results Report;
- Records of the status of all Board accounts; and
- Audited financial statements for previous year’s operations.
- A photocopying charge may be levied to any elector requesting copies of the above-noted records and documents.
Motions do not require a seconder, except in rare instances as described below.
- Notice of Motion
The notice of motion serves the purpose of officially putting an item on the agenda of the next or future regular meeting and gives notice to all trustees of the item to be discussed. A notice of motion is not debatable and may not be voted on.
A trustee may present a notice of motion for consideration at the next regular meeting of the Board or may specify another meeting date. A trustee may also provide the Superintendent with a written notice of motion and ask that it be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting and read at the meeting. The trustee will need not be present during the reading of the motion; however, if the trustee is not present, a seconder is required at the meeting at which the notice is given; otherwise the item will be dropped.
- Discussion on Motions
The custom of addressing comments to the Board Chair is to be followed by all persons in attendance.
A Board motion or recommendation from the Superintendent or designate must be placed before the Board prior to any discussion taking place on an issue. When a motion originates from the floor, the mover of the motion shall provide a written copy of the motion to the Board Chair. Once a motion is before the Board and until it is passed or defeated, all speakers shall confine their remarks to the motion or to the information pertinent to the motion.
- Speaking to the Motion
The mover of a motion first and every trustee shall have an opportunity to speak to the motion before any trustee is allowed to speak a second time. The mover of the motion is permitted to close debate on the motion.
As a general guide, a trustee is not to speak longer than five (5) minutes on any motion. The Board Chair has the responsibility to limit the discussion by a trustee when such a discussion is repetitive or digresses from the topic at hand, or where discussion takes place prior to the acceptance of a motion.
No one shall interrupt a speaker unless it is to ask for important clarification of the speaker’s remarks, and any such interruption shall not be permitted without permission of the Board Chair.
Should a trustee arrive at the meeting after a motion has been made and prior to taking a vote, the trustee may request further discussion prior to the vote. The Board Chair shall rule on further discussion.
- Reading of the Motion
A trustee may require the motion under discussion to be read at any time during the debate, except when a trustee is speaking.
- Recorded Vote
The recording secretary shall, whenever a recorded vote is requested by a trustee before the vote is taken, record in the minutes the names of the trustees who voted for or against the matter. The recording secretary shall, immediately after a vote is taken and on the request of a trustee, record in the minutes the names of that trustee and whether that trustee voted for or against the matter.
- Required Votes
The Board Chair and all trustees present, unless excused by resolution of the Board or by the provisions of the School Act, shall vote on each question. Each question shall be decided by a majority of the votes of those trustees present. A simple majority of a quorum of the Board will decide in favour of the question. In the case of an equality of votes, the question is defeated. A vote on a question shall be taken by open vote expressed by show of hands, except the vote to elect the Board Chair or Vice Chair, which is by secret ballot.
In all debate, any matter of procedure in dispute shall be settled, if possible, by reference to Robert’s Rules of Order. If this reference is inadequate, procedure may be determined by motion supported by the majority of trustees in attendance.