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Policy 2000 – School Board Governance

The purpose of this policy is to articulate the roles and processes of the Board that are critical to its effective and efficient operation.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County is the elected body responsible to the community for the education of their children and for the oversight and effectiveness of the school system The Board adopts the vision, mission and goals for the school system and, in support of the mission and goals, the Board formulates and adopts educational policies that support personal, academic, and social development of students.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to articulate the roles and processes of the Board that are critical to its effective and efficient operation.

III. Definitions

  1. Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) – Howard County’s public Pre-K–12 educational system.

  2. Board of Education of Howard County (Board) – The elected body created under Section 3-103 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and possessing authorities established by law.

  3. Department of Education – The collective administrative staff of the school system.

  4. Quarterly Agenda – List of potential agenda items for all Board meetings and Board activities for a three-month period.

IV. Standards

  1. Beliefs

    1. The work of the Board is based upon the following school system beliefs:

      1. Every child can learn.

      2. Each child is unique and has special abilities and interests that must be recognized and developed.

      3. The education of all children is the shared responsibility of the home, school, and community.

      4. Academics are a primary focus of education.

      5. Teachers have a responsibility to engage every student in learning.

      6. Students have a responsibility for their own learning and for their personal conduct.

      7. Parents have a responsibility for setting values and expectations that support the learning process.

      8. Lifelong learning is essential for productive and responsible participation in a diverse and changing world.

      9. Teachers have the right to teach and students have the right to learn in a safe and nurturing environment.

    2. In support of the school system’s mission, the Board provides leadership for excellence in teaching and learning by fostering a climate of continuous improvement through policy and community engagement.

    3. The Board governs the school system through deliberations and decision-making that:

      1. Use measurable results to assess school and system performance and continuous improvement.

      2. Encourage a diversity of viewpoints through collaborative decision-making.

      3. Provide a supportive and creative environment in which the Superintendent and other school system employees can pursue Board goals and objectives collaboratively.

      4. Provide opportunities for affected stakeholders to provide comment on proposals being considered by the Board.

  2. Authority and Responsibilities

    The Board and the Superintendent will collaborate in the effective governance and administration of the HCPSS to achieve its mission and goals with the understanding that the roles and responsibilities of the Board and the Superintendent are distinct.

    1. Authority of the Board

      Because the authority of the Board is collective and not individual, an individual Board member cannot act on behalf of the Board or represent the authority of the Board, unless so authorized by the full Board.

      In carrying out its duties, the Board will exercise the following authority:

      1. Executive

        1. Demonstrate leadership by following policies and abiding by the National School Board Association’s Code of Ethics.

        2. Engage the community in the promotion of the beliefs, mission, and goals of the HCPSS.

        3. Act on personnel matters.

        4. Conduct a selection process and appoint a Superintendent.

        5. Set the salary of the Superintendent and, based on the recommendation of the Superintendent, the salaries for all HCPSS employees.

        6. Evaluate the Superintendent’s performance based on collaboratively developed goals.

        7. Determine educational standards and goals, and monitor their achievement.

        8. Monitor continuous improvement of HCPSS educational and administrative programs.

        9. Ensure HCPSS compliance with state, federal, and local regulations and standards.

      2. Legislative

        1. Adopt policies for the operation of the school system.

        2. Express and represent the views of the community in matters affecting education.

        3. Interpret and communicate the educational program and needs of the school system to the community.

        4. Authorize educational programs and adopt curriculum.

        5. Advance a legislative agenda before the County Council and General Assembly.

        6. Allocate funds for school operational needs and programs.

        7. Authorize specific expenditures from county, state, and federal sources by adopting annual operating and capital budgets

        8. Establish school attendance areas.

        9. Authorize legal settlements.

      3. Quasi-Judicial

        1. Interpret the application of policies.

        2. Make decisions on appeals to decisions rendered by the Superintendent/Designee on controversies and disputes under the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland §4-205(c) by a paper review process. These include, but are not limited to decisions regarding non-certificated employee discipline, early kindergarten admission, out-of-district assignments, and student walking routes.

        3. Decide appeals of student suspension and expulsion decisions.

        4. Act on recommendations filed by the Superintendent that a certificated employee be suspended or dismissed under the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland §6-202.

      4. Other responsibilities required by law or established by the Board.

    2. Responsibilities of the Board

      1. The Board is responsible for educational matters that affect Howard County and that promote the interests of the schools under its jurisdiction.

      2. The Board will carry out the provisions of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and the regulations and policies of the State Board of Education.

      3. The Board will adopt policies for the conduct and management of the school system.

      4. The Board will regularly review progress towards attainment of the HCPSS mission and goals.

      5. The Board will maintain a reasonably uniform system of schools designed to provide quality education and equal educational opportunity for all children.

      6. The Board will hold the Superintendent accountable for the academic achievement of all students and the operation of the school system.

      7. The Board will advocate for adequate funding for the HCPSS and will direct the allocation of resources to best fulfill the goals of the school system.

      8. The Board will develop, use, and maintain a Board Handbook that catalogs a variety of Board processes and resources that support Board development. The Board Handbook will be reviewed and adopted by the Board.

        1. The review and adoption of the handbook will follow the installation of new non-student Board members.

        2. Student Board members who serve in a school year that does not include a general election may submit suggestions for consideration during the next Board Handbook review.

    3. Responsibilities of the Superintendent

      1. The Superintendent is responsible for the administration and management of the school system.

      2. The Superintendent is responsible for advising the Board on educational policies.

      3. The Superintendent is responsible for implementing Board decisions, such as those related to policies, budget, communication, and personnel.

      4. The Superintendent is responsible for developing and implementing plans in all areas related to student achievement, including budget, staffing, alignment of resources, assessment, staff development, and communication.

      5. The Superintendent is responsible for presenting to the Board important school matters requiring Board action, including those which are properly within the legislative function of the Board or those that are required by law.

      6. The Superintendent will provide background information to the Board in a timely manner so that input and analysis can take place prior to decision-making.

      7. The Superintendent is responsible for issuing recommendations to the Board that a certificated employee be suspended or dismissed under Section 6-202 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

  3. Officers

    The Board recognizes that the effective administration of Board responsibilities requires the delegation of certain authority to officers.

    1. Chairman

      The Chairman of the Board of Education will:

      1. Provide supervisory leadership by maintaining regular communication with the Superintendent and the Board, planning the establishment of his/her annual goals with the Board, and overseeing the annual evaluation process.

      2. Serve as the presiding officer at Board meetings, and assure that the meetings are conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, as appropriate.

      3. Maintain Board deliberations that are fair, open, thorough, efficient, timely, and orderly.

      4. Monitor Board behavior for consistency with its own rules and those imposed upon it by law.

      5. Confer with the Superintendent to construct an agenda for each meeting that is consistent with the Quarterly Agenda approved by the Board and provides an orderly method of conducting Board business. Individual Board members may ask the Chairman or the Superintendent to schedule an item on a Board agenda or request from the full Board that an item be scheduled on a Board agenda.

      6. Serve as the spokesperson for the Board.

      7. Fulfill or delegate other duties of the office as needed.

    2. Vice Chairman

      1. The Board will establish the office of Vice Chairman for the efficient functioning of the Board.

      2. The Board Vice Chairman will assume such administrative and leadership tasks as designated by the Chairman.

      3. In the temporary absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman will assume the responsibilities of the Chairman. If the Chairman is no longer able to fulfill the term as Chairman, the Vice Chairman will assume the position of Chairman.

    3. Secretary/Treasurer/Executive Officer

      The Superintendent serves as the Board’s non-voting secretary, treasurer, and executive officer. As such, the Superintendent/Designee will:

      1. Attend all meetings of the Board, except when his/her tenure or salary is under consideration.

      2. Ensure that accurate minutes are prepared for public record as soon as practical after all meetings of the Board.

      3. Provide timely public notice of Board meetings and publish all legal notices related to Board business.

      4. Maintain accurate records of all hearings involving disputes and controversies.

      5. Act as custodian of all funds belonging to and under the control of the Board.

      6. Disburse funds as approved by the Board in the Operating and Capital Budgets and according to the provisions of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

      7. Provide regular reports and accounts of funds received and disbursed.

  4. Student Member

    1. The roles and responsibilities of the student member are outlined in The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article and in HCPSS Policy 2010 Student Representation.

    2. The student member is elected annually by a majority of votes cast by student voters countywide.

    3. The student member will have the same rights and privileges as an elected member, with the exception of restrictions against voting on specific matters, participation in appeals, or confidential personal matters, and attendance at closed sessions relating to restricted matters as cited in The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article Section 3-701 and HCPSS Policy 2010 Student Representation.

    4. The student member cannot serve as an officer of the Board.

    5. Except as prohibited by state law and HCPSS Policy 2010 Student Representation, the student member will have opportunities to serve on Board committees.

  5. Board of Education (Board) Committees

    1. Board committee structure, procedures, and responsibilities will be reviewed and adopted by the Board following the installation of new Board members.

    2. Board committee assignments will be approved during a Board meeting prior to the beginning of each school year.

    3. A chairman will be elected annually by each committee at the committee’s first meeting.

    4. A Board member may serve as chairman in only one leadership capacity.

    5. Board members will serve on an individual committee for a minimum of two years.

  6. Professional Expectations

    1. New Board members will attend the HCPSS orientation for Board members.

    2. Board members will come prepared and actively participate in all scheduled meetings of the Board.

    3. Board members will work together in a spirit of civility, respect, and cooperation at all times.

    4. Board members will stay current with changing needs and requirements by reviewing educational literature and participating in professional development opportunities.

    5. Board members are expected to participate in professional meetings and seminars at the state and national level.

    6. As public representatives of the community and of the school system, individual Board members are responsible for conducting themselves in a professional manner at all times in adherence to Board policies and National School Board Association (NSBA) standards, and professional standards of boardsmanship. Alleged violations will be handled in accordance with the procedures identified in the Board of Education of Howard County Handbook.

    7. The Board will hold at least one retreat annually. In addition, the Board will complete a self-evaluation each year.

  7. Adoption and Implementation of Board Policies

    An important function of the Board is the development and adoption of policies; the implementation of those policies is the responsibility of the Superintendent. As such, the Board will hold the Superintendent accountable for carrying out its policies.

  8. Board-Superintendent Communications

    1. The Board will maintain effective communication with the Superintendent in order to successfully fulfill their respective duties.

    2. The Board will ensure that all information pertinent to the operation of the school system is conveyed promptly to the Superintendent.

    3. The Superintendent will keep the Board informed about school operations, including prompt notification of any emergencies.

  9. Board-Staff Communication

    The Board chair and the Superintendent will ensure appropriate Board, Superintendent, and staff communication. Staff responses will be provided to the full Board.

  10. Evaluation of the Superintendent

    The Board will monitor the performance of the Superintendent on an ongoing basis and will evaluate the Superintendent against specified expectations as well as the organizational accomplishment of school system goals and objectives. The Board will conduct a mid-year and year-end evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance each year. The Superintendent will receive a written copy of the evaluation report.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Board will direct and supervise the Superintendent, the Ombudsman, the Internal Auditor, and the Administrative Specialist to the Board.

  2. The Superintendent will oversee the operational administration and organization of the school system and will take authority over and accountability for Department of Education staff.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to advise and assist the Board with its governance responsibilities.

VII. References

  • Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §3-103, §3-104, §3-701, §3-704

  • Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §4-101, §4-102, §4-103,

  • §4-108, §4-109, §4-204, §4-205

  • Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §6-201, §6-202

  • Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §7-305

C. Relevant Data Sources - (none)

D. Other

  • National School Board Association Code of Ethics for School Board Members

  • The Board of Education of Howard County Handbook

  • Roberts’s Rules of Order

VIII. History

ADOPTED: June 22, 2004



REVISED: October 6, 2005, October 10, 2013

EFFECTIVE: October 10, 2013