Saturday, October 31, 2020

Trustees Provide Clarity, Structure to Board Advisory Committees

The Carroll School Board agreed Monday evening to provide clarity and structure to the process of applying and serving on a CISD Board Advisory Committee.

A subcommittee of Trustees was tasked with reviewing the Board’s process for community input and engagement following questions about the terms and membership of various committees and how their recommendations are presented/implemented in the work of Carroll ISD. Trustees Dave Almand, Todd Carlton, and Eric Lannen presented their recommendations to the full School Board during the September 28 regular meeting.

The first step in the process will be for the district to update Local Policy BDB to clarify the difference between Standing and Special Purpose advisory committees. Trustees agreed that standing committee members will apply using an application provided to the public by the Carroll ISD Administration. Members will serve for two years on staggered terms beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. The standing committee application will be available each year from July 1 through September 15. Applicants will be subject to an annual background check required for all school volunteers and could be subject to attendance expectations, though Trustees have yet to decide those exact requirements.

Standing committee meeting dates will be posted to the district website and are open to the public to attend in the audience. Standing committees rarely vote unless required by law, but rather encourage discussion and consensus building, sometimes using work groups or subcommittees to accomplish assigned tasks. Committee meeting summaries and documents/resources will be provided on each specific committee’s webpage for public review. Members of the Administration assist with standing and special purpose committee meetings. Whenever possible, parents, employees and students are represented on the committees.

Now that the Board has established additional structure, the 2020-2021 application will be released October 1 for those interested in serving on one of the following standing committees: Audit Committee, Budget & Finance Committee, School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), District Advisory Committee (DAC) and the School Safety & Security Committee. Some of the standing committees are required by state law/district policy with specific requirements for membership and meetings. Most committees, however, are operated at the discretion of the Trustees and Administration. At least two Trustees typically serve on each committee and give monthly reports back to the full Board during regular School Board meetings. These reports are a part of the public record and may sometimes also include updates from committee members and/or assigned co-chairs.

Participation in advisory committees is voluntary, and the standing committees typically meet quarterly throughout the year with some exceptions like the Safety & Security Committee, which is required by law to meet once each semester and again in the summer.

Applying to a committee does not necessarily guarantee membership. Information about the charge and membership of each committee will be posted on the district’s website. The application deadline to serve on a standing committee for the 2020-2021 school year will be October 19. Current members (from 2019-2020 committees) will continue to serve this school year and rotate off in 2021. The new members selected following the October 19 application deadline will serve for two years.

In contrast, special purpose committees have their own application and are given a certain charge and/or task by the School Board and Administration for a short period of time or until their charge is complete. Examples include the Strategic Planning Committee which typically forms every five years, Capital Needs Planning Committee (forms 12-18 months prior to a school bond election), Bond Advisory Committee (meets monthly to oversee completion of school bond program), The Resiliency Committee (made up of students/staff) and the District Diversity Council (made up of students/staff/parents).

Trustees agreed that campus principals may seat their own Campus Site-Based Decision-Making and Campus Diversity Councils annually.

The district expects to seat the next Strategic Planning Committee after the new Superintendent is hired and reports for work in 2021. The Strategic Planning Committee will assist CISD with developing a comprehensive five-year plan for the district. Trustees agreed Monday evening that those members serving on the District Diversity Council who have good attendance records and who wish to continue for 2020-2021 may be invited to do so, and Trustees plan to appoint at least seven new members to join the DDC, up to a total of 48 members. The application for these new member positions will be distributed beginning October 1 with an application deadline of October 19, at which time Trustees will review applications, and each Trustee will get to name at least one additional member to the DDC.

Based on a new timeline brought forward by DDC co-chairs Pam Francis and Eric Ransom Sept. 14, the DDC will continue to collect questions and feedback this fall so that workshops with the Board and new superintendent can be scheduled in early 2021. Community engagement and input will be built into the process. Individuals with questions about the proposed Cultural Competence Action Plan (CCAP) and/or recommendations for DDC consideration should email CCAP-Feedback@southlakecarroll.edu. Until then, various recommendations and action steps in the CCAP are on hold and Trustees will take no action.

Trustees agreed Monday that they will eventually seat a new DDC which will likely become a subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Committee. Recommendations from other standing or special purpose committees can also be presented to the Strategic Planning Committee for possible inclusion in the district’s next five-year plan.