"Policymaking ... is proactive concerning the broadest issues rather than reactive on issues of all sizes. Policies of the broad, brief though they may be, become parents to all executive actions." John Carver, Boards that Make a Difference
One of the most important responsibilities of School Boards in New Hampshire is to adopt policies that set parameters for the smooth running of schools. Each School Board member should be familiar with the policies of the district. The Board should exercise its responsibility to insure that policies are being followed at all levels. Board members of the policy sub-committee should review policies on a regular basis and bring new policies forward as they deem necessary.
Policies are available on the SAU website (www.sau24.org) by clicking on the appropriate School Board name. Both adopted policies and policies for first and second readings are posted on the website and are accessible to the public.
Besides policies, there are State laws that govern schools. Those can be found by accessing the New Hampshire State government website (www.state.nh.us) and clicking on "legislative branch" in the upper right hand comer. Board members should review the sub-headings of the chapters and be able to find an education law when needed.
Schools are also governed by the Code of Administrative Rules, which carry the force of law. These rules are adopted by the New Hampshire Department of Education and can be found on their website (www.ed.state.nh.us). Click on "legislation, laws & rules" on the left hand side of the page.
Finally, there are federal statues that also govern schools. Examples are the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The website www.ed.gov can be used to search for educational laws on specific topics.
School Board policies usually reference State or Federal laws and/or Administrative Rules. Policies often repeat the essential philosophies and components of laws or rules. There are policies that must be adopted for school districts as well as policies that are recommended by administration or statewide advocacy groups.
Becoming familiar with the existing policies, laws and rules is a long process due to the very large number of items. Board members should contact the SAU or school administration if they are unclear or need information they cannot find. The NHSBA also assists Board members with questions about policies, laws and rules. (www.nhsba.org)
Section D contains policies, on school finances and the management of funds. Policies on the financing of school construction and renovation, however, are contained in Section F, Facilities Development.
Section G contains policies on all school employees except for the Superintendent (for policies on the Superintendent see Section C). This section has policies applying to all school employees and general personnel matters, instructional and administrative staff, and support or classified staff.
Section K contains policies, regulations, and exhibits on parent and community involvement in schools. Except for policies concerning education agencies, statements on public sector relations with the school district are located in this section, too.