The State delegates to local school boards the authority to govern school districts within the parameters set by State law. Boards are made up of school district residents elected at large to serve. So, although the Board is responsible to district voters, it is legally responsible to the State.
What is the Board's role?
The Board’s role is to:
Adopt goals and policies that meet State requirements and reflect community needs
Provide the resources necessary to pursue its goals according to its policies
Monitor district performance to see that results are consistent with goals and policies
What are the Board's duties?
Among the Board’s legal duties are:
Approving what shall be taught in the schools and which textbooks will be used
Approving necessary personnel and setting their salaries
Approving all contracts and paying all bills
Approving the annual budget
Individual Board Members may not act alone or make decisions that are binding upon the Board. Binding decisions are made only upon a vote taken by the School Board.
Is the Superintendent a Board Member?
No. The Superintendent is the chief executive officer of the school district, a professional educator hired by the Board to carry out its goals and to oversee the district’s operation.
Board of Education Meetings:
The Board has a minimum of one regular meeting per month. The meeting will generally be held each month or as specified. Interested citizens are welcome to attend. The meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Administration Building, Hwy 49N 196 MLK Drive, Indianola, MS. Please check the District calendar for dates and times of the meetings or the District website www.sunflower.k12.ms.us for the most up-to-date information.
How are Board Meetings conducted?
Each meeting follows an agenda that establishes the sequence of events for that meeting. Meetings are conducted by the Board President based on a combination of A Commentary on Parliamentary Procedure, common sense and common courtesy. Meetings can last up to one or more hours, depending on the content of the agenda.
Are Board Meetings public?
Board meetings are not public meetings; they are meetings held in public. By law, all Board discussion and deliberation must be conducted in public, except for certain specific matters, such as personnel and student disciplinary cases, which may be discussed in closed session. However, all official Board action (voting) must be taken in public.
May I speak at a Board Meeting?
The tradition has been to allow any visitor the opportunity to comment or ask questions of the board. Visitors may speak at a time specifically set aside during the meeting when visitors are recognized. Groups attending Board meetings are asked to appoint a spokesperson, and all visitors are asked to limit their remarks to three (3) minutes. The Board President recognizes visitors who wish to comment, maintains order during the meeting, and calls an end to comments and discussion when this seems appropriate.
The Board rarely can be expected to act immediately on an issue brought before it for the first time. Even in the case of more familiar topics, the Board takes action only after it has examined all aspects of an issue. You may, however, expect the Board to act as promptly as circumstances allow and to notify you when it arrives at a decision.
What are Committee Meetings?
Committee meetings are scheduled as needed. These meetings focus upon specific issues related to District policy, services, finance and curriculum.
Information for those planning to address the Board of Education:
Know what you want to say and say it as briefly as possible. Again, this is not to limit your ability to speak, but to make sure your message is heard and understood. When called on, make sure you speak clearly enough to be heard by everyone in the room. State your name so that your comments can be made part of the official record. If you are representing an organization or a group of citizens, state the name of the group.
As concisely as possible, state your concern, complaint, question or opinion, then state your basis or reason. If you know what you want the Board to do about your concern or opinion, end by stating what you want done. The Board will not always be able to adopt your solution, but knowing it is helpful.
Keep your comments brief. School Boards have a lot of business to handle at meetings, and often many people to hear. If you believe more explanation is necessary, write a preliminary or follow-up letter to the Board, or create some background materials you can use as handouts.
If you are speaking from a prepared statement, provide copies for Board Members and the Superintendent. Background materials are always helpful, so Board Members can refer to your materials if they feel the need for further study of the issue.
Avoid repeating the views of previous speakers. A single spokesperson should be designated to represent a group with a common purpose. It is just as effective to indicate that you represent a group of a certain size as it is for every member of that group to be heard.
Limit your comments to one item or issue and stay focused on the issue at hand. If you have a whole list of concerns, make separate presentations, or speak about the most important and provide the others to the Board in writing.
No matter how strongly you feel about an issue, always be polite. Avoid name-calling, finger-pointing, accusations or language that would demean anyone.
Make sure your issue is appropriate School Board business. As noted, it is better to attempt to resolve the problems at a lower administrative level before bringing it to the Board. A School Board’s main function is to establish policy for the entire District, not to settle disputes that could be resolved through other channels.
Understand Board limitations. Don’t expect the Board to answer every question or resolve every issue on the spot. The issue may require more study.
Knowledgeable parents or community members often are asked to help the Board resolve a complex issue. Committees may be formed to address particular needs, such as publicizing a finance referendum.