Operating Protocol

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For the purpose of enhancing teamwork among members of the Board and between the Board and the administration, we, the members of the Olympia School Board, do hereby publicly commit ourselves collectively and individually to the following operating protocol.

Regarding Board functions, we agree:

The Board represents the needs and interests of all the students in our District and is accountable to the entire community.

Only the Board as a whole has authority: individual Board members do not. The Board President communicates the position of the Board on specific issues. Board members clarify the intent of their participation when they serve on various school committees.

The Board emphasizes planning, policy-making and community relations rather than becoming directly involved in the management of the schools.

The Board is eager to listen to its constituents and staff. Each inquiry is referred to the person who can appropriately and expeditiously address the issue.

The Board encourages individuals and groups to present their own issues, concerns or proposals to the Board.

Regarding the relationship with the Superintendent and staff, we agree:

Communication between staff and the Board is encouraged. However, Board requests which will likely require considerable time or are sensitive and/or controversial are directed to the Superintendent. All personnel complaints and criticisms received by the Board or its individual members are directed to the Superintendent or designee.

The Superintendent is the chief executive officer and recommends, proposes, suggests on most issues before the Board.

Surprises to the Board or the Superintendent are the exception, not the rule. Board members agree to ask the Board President or the Superintendent to place an item on the agenda instead of bringing it up unexpectedly at the Board meeting.

The Board conducts an annual evaluation of the Superintendent.

Regarding Board meetings, we agree:

Board members come to Board meetings prepared. If a Board member believes he or she doesn’t have enough information or has questions, he or she calls either the Superintendent or the Board President before the Board meetings to obtain the necessary information.

Board meetings are efficient and effective. Board meetings are for information, discussion, and action.

Conduct at a Board meeting is important. Board members agree to avoid words and actions that create a negative impression of an individual, the Board, or the District. While we encourage debate and differing points of view, we debate and differ with care and respect.

During Board meetings, Board members agree to speak to the issues on the agenda and to listen respectfully to those who address the Board and to fellow Board members.

Board members follow the legal requirements for Board meetings and they respect confidential information.

Only items discussed in Executive Session will be brought forward for discussion and/or action following that session.

Regarding board evaluation, we agree:

The Board addresses problems regarding inappropriate behavior or non-performance by an individual Board member.

The Board sets annual Board goals and conducts a yearly self evaluation of its performance in completing these goals.

Reaffirmed by the Board November 22, 2010