What Does a School Board Member Do? (ref. NYSSBA)
STRUCTURE OF THE SOMERS CSD BOARD OF EDUCATION
The Somers Central School District Board of Education is a seven-person board comprised of volunteers who are each elected to serve 3-year terms, renewable, by election. At its Annual Organizational Meeting in July, the Board elects its Board President and Vice President for that school year. Board members do not receive a salary or any other compensation.
Responsibilities of the Board
The Board of Education’s primary role is to establish policies for the educational program and management of the district, and to exercise fiscal responsibility.
The Board’s additional responsibilities are to:
- Adopt district goal, monitor and evaluate progress towards those goals;
- Appoint all district personnel upon recommendation of the Superintendent;
- Develop and adopt the annual school district budget consistent with educational needs and community resources;
- Work closely with the community to ensure that Board actions and performance reflect the concerns and aspirations of the community;
- Employ and evaluate a Superintendent of Schools capable of ensuring that the district maintains its position as an outstanding school system and that personnel carry out the policies of the Board with energy and dedication;
- Provide leadership to ensure that the goals and objectives of the district, as set forth by the Board, can be effectively carried out;
- Evaluate the Board’s performance in relation to these goals, and to establish and clarify policies based upon the results of such evaluation.
Board action should be confined to policy-making, planning and appraisal with the Board delegating authority to the Superintendent for the implementation of policies and administration of the district.
SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS
The primary purpose of a Board meeting is to enable the Board to conduct the business of the District in a public setting. It is a time for the Board to hear, discuss and act on recommendations from the district administration. At each public meeting, the Board sets aside time for comments and questions from the public.
Meeting dates are published in the local press, posted on the District website calendar, the District Facebook page, and in various locations around town.
Regular Business Meetings are held each month. At these meeting, Board members take official action on agenda items such as approval of minutes, approval of personnel and business items, and the adoption of policy.
Work Sessions are meetings scheduled during which the Board receives reports from the Superintendent on educational issues and holds preliminary discussions on items that will be voted on at later meetings. Occasionally, a Special Meeting will be announced so that the Board can take action to meet deadlines or to deal with urgent business.
Executive Sessions are usually held directly before Regular Meetings or Work Sessions to discuss personnel issues, labor negotiations, and other matters that are confidential as defined by the Open Meeting Law of the State of New York. Executive Sessions are the only meetings that are not open to the public.
Agendas and Minutes of Board Meetings—Board actions are recorded in the official minutes of the Board. The meeting minutes and meeting agendas can be found on the District website, via the BoardDocs site.
INPUT FROM THE COMMUNITY
While Board of Education meetings must be conducted in public, meetings are not held with the public; however, the Somers Board of Education invites the community to attend its meetings. We value your input as we strive to provide our children with a meaningful educational experience and to prepare them to be caring and responsible citizens.
During each Meeting, an opportunity is provided for members of the audience to raise questions or offer comments pertaining to the Board’s agenda or other school related items.
Community members may participate in the work of the District through discussions with staff, board meetings, various committees, advisory groups and volunteer service. The PTAs (Parent-Teacher Associations) in each school are the elected voice of the parent community and work closely with principals in each building to address matters of school-wide importance.
If you speak at a Board meeting…
Please step up to the microphone and state your name and address for the record. We ask that you keep your remarks brief. Lengthy matters can be addressed in writing if necessary and will be responded to accordingly. When many people wish to speak, a time limit may be imposed. A Board meeting is never the place to discuss personnel issues or other confidential matters. The Board president is responsible for orderly meeting conduct and appropriateness of subject matter.
What if I have a special concern?
Questions or concerns are typically addressed at the level of origin and then follow the normal chain of authority. If your concern relates to your child’s classroom/teacher, begin by talking with the teacher. If not resolved, then contact the principal, counselor or psychologist. If your concern still remains unresolved, contact the Director of HR and Student Services, Director of Learning, Assistant Superintendent or the Superintendent’s office.
Contacting the Board of Education
The Board of Education may be contacted by email at email@example.com or correspondence may be mailed to the Somers Board of Education at PO Box 620, Lincolndale, NY 10540.