What does the School Committee do?

A School Committee’s responsibilities lie in three main areas. First, to write and maintain policies that guide the district. Second, to approve and monitor the budget for the school system. Finally, to hire and evaluate the Superintendent of the district.


Policy:

School Committee policies are meant to be broad statements of direction. They guide the Superintendent and the District. Procedures are the actual steps of how this work should be done, and are generally written by the Superintendent. It is the Administration’s responsibility to give effect to the School Committee policies. It is very important that the committee not attempt to micromanage the running of the district. The Superintendent is the leader of the district, and as long as he/she is following the SC policies and the approved budget, should be trusted to do his/her job.

The overarching goals describe the beliefs which drive all of the School Committee’s actions.

The School Committee policies can be found in the online District Policy Manual. These policies describe how the School Committee expects the school district to be managed in specific areas. (Note – work in process, more needs to be said here…) The column on the left of the screen can be expanded and contracted to show policies in each section. Sometimes the best thing is to use the search tool and just try different words until you find what you are looking for.

The Policy Manual Grid on the policy manual page is a summary of all of our policies and when they were approved. This grid would help you go to specific meeting minutes if you wanted to know if there was any discussion or additional information in the meeting packet.

The Administrative Procedures give effect to some of the School Committee policies.

Other documents that act like policies, most of which require School Committee approval:


Budget:

The fiscal year for the school system is July 1 through June 30 and is referred to by the ending year.  For example, FY16 is the period July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016. The budget is developed by the Superintendent and it is then proposed by the Superintendent to the School Committee. The School Committee has the responsibility for approving a final budget.

The process for approving the school department budget begins in January or February for the School Committee, and is generally completed in May.   The process for the Superintendent of developing that proposal begins long before it is presented to the School Committee and includes all of the district administrators.

The Mayor proposes a City budget to the Board of Aldermen. The school district is a single line item within the city budget. The Aldermen can change individual line items within the city budget, but they cannot increase the bottom line. Neither the Board of Aldermen, nor the Mayor have any authority for the spending of funds within the school budget, only the School Committee as a whole is responsible for that.


Superintendent:

Annually, the School Committee evaluates the Superintendent and works with him/her to set goals for the coming year. This is usually done during the summer months.

To find out more about last year’s process, see the meeting minutes of (note: need to fill this in…)

To understand the way the School Committee works, please see the School Committee Handbook (Note: add link when this exists).