What is the Role of the School Board?
The ISD Board was created by the Indiana General Assembly and has statutory responsibility for the oversight and governance of ISD. The primary function of the Board is to provide the leadership, vision, accountability, and advocacy necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the ISD mission statement. In carrying out this responsibility, the board establishes policies, assesses school performance, facilitates strategic planning efforts, oversees budget preparation, promotes stakeholder communication, supports statewide outreach efforts, and makes recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly.
One of the board's central functions is to set policy which shapes the operation of ISD and its programs and services. Policies impact many issues such as admissions criteria, student curriculum, student and employee codes of conduct, outreach services, and provision for programs such as summer school and extra-curricular activities.
However, board members are not administrators; they do not run ISD. Instead, they establish policies based on a broad vision of student educational needs, an ongoing evaluation of programs and services, and recommendations from the Superintendent, school administrators, and the community.
Who Serves on the Board?
The ISD Board is comprised of seven voting members and three non-voting members. The voting members, which must include at least one parent, one alumnus, and one representative of a public school corporation are appointed to staggered, four-year terms by the Governor. The non-voting members include representatives from the Governor's Office, the Indiana House of Representatives, and the Indiana Department of Education.
By statute, board members are public officials and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. For this reason board members represent all ISD community stakeholders.
One of the important concepts for the community to understand is that power and authority is vested with the full board and not individual board members. As a result, individual board members cannot make promises or commitments outside of board meetings and have no authority to commit ISD to a particular course of action.
What activities take place at School Board meetings?
While each board meeting is unique in terms of the specific issues that are discussed, many of the activities are recurring in nature. Generally speaking, board meetings are used to receive public comments, reports from the Superintendent, special reports from selected students and staff members, and to make key decisions related to ISD's programs and services.
The Board acts upon recommendations made by the Superintendent (the chief executive officer) on a wide variety of matters from personnel to adopting an operating budget, and authorizing the spending of budgeted money. Although any topic relating to the operation of the schools may come before the Board, most routine matters are handled through administrative channels so that the board may stay focused on ISD's most pressing needs.
Decisions made at board meetings can include approving strategies, modifying programs and services, and establishing policies that that affect the education of our children and impact the future of our community.
When and where are School Board meetings held?
The ISD School Board meets five times during the school year. All interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend the ISD Board meetings and to observe the deliberations of the Board. Unless otherwise posted, meetings are held in the Alumni Building, Media Center.
Public participation at Board meetings
The ISD Board recognizes the value of public comments and the importance of allowing members of the public to express themselves on matters related to ISD. In order to permit a fair and orderly expression of such comments, the Board has adopted a Public Participation Policy. Copies of the policy must be obtained from the Superintendent's Office.
A person who desires to make comments to the board must register with the Superintendent's Office at least 24 hours prior to the board meeting. Completion of the School Board Public Comment Request Form is requested by each individual wishing to provide comments. Forms should be submitted to the Superintendent's office. Please note that ISD Board meetings are conducted for the purpose of carrying on official business. The meetings are not public forum meetings, but are meetings held in public. As a result, public comments will be accepted only during the portion of the meeting that is designated for that purpose.