According to Board Chairwoman Annie McDaniel, when the board makes a decision, or approves a motion, the superintendent or someone from the office reviews the manual to make sure the board is not violating one of its policies.
“We don’t want to do anything to violate our own policy,” McDaniel said.
Yet the board may be doing just that, by having three standing committees of the board.
Under the district’s policy regarding standing committees, it states “there will be no standing committees of the board. The board believes that it operates most effectively without committees. Board members will receive the same information, explore options and make decisions together.”
It does, however, allow for special temporary committees.
“The chairman may appoint special committees subject to board approval. The function of special committees will be fact-finding, deliberative and advisory, but never legislative or administrative. Such committees will serve until they have accomplished their purpose and/or until they are discharged,” states the policy.
The policy was adopted in August 1983, then revised in August 1990, September 1996 and again in December 2003.
McDaniel said when the board voted to create the hearing committee, they did request that the policy (regarding board committees) be updated to reflect the change. However, that motion was made after the board voted to create both a finance and executive committee.
“If we’re in violation of our own policy, we will move expeditiously to correct the policy,” said the chairwoman, who serves as an ex-officio on all of the committees. Each committee must consist of at least three members.
All three committees were created to help shorten the length of the school board’s regularly scheduled meetings as well as help get the board’s two newest members – Danielle Miller and Polly Parker – up to speed on district information, McDaniel explained.
“When you have committees, you can work out the details during those committee meetings and bring it back to the full board at a later time,” McDaniel said.
Since Miller and Parker were elected last year, the board has not held a retreat, the chairwoman said.
“There are a number of procedural things we need to look at since we have so many new board members,” said McDaniel, who has served on the board since 2000.
On Tuesday, the board requested that Robinson review the policy, and if needed, revise it so the board can have standing committees.
The committees were created before Robinson’s employment with the district.
Break down of the board’s three standing committees:
The finance committee was established to be a standing committee to monitor the school district’s finances. One of its main objectives is to have a comprehensive salary study completed.
In the past, the school district had a hearing officer who handled student disciplinary actions. The board ended its contractual agreement with the officer, and formed its own committee. In addition to including the three board members, the school’s superintendent also serves on the standing committee. Appeals are made to the entire seven-member board.
The executive committee was developed to prepare for the school district’s upcoming visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) review team as well as develop a working relationship with the regional accreditation agency. With the introduction of two legislative bills that will change the way the school district operates, the committee has added that issue to its list of objectives.