How Should Our Committees Operate
The basic requirement for committee operation is that the committee members consider the assignments given to the committee by the school council and make a recommendation for action to the school council. This recommendation should always be based on the charge to "provide an environment to enhance the students' achievement and help the school meet the goals established by KRS 158.645 and 158.6451" as required by KRS 160.345 (2) (c). Committees comply with KRS 61.805-850, the Open Meetings Law.
The process used to achieve this requirement is left for the school council to develop. In developing this process, remember that a committee without the authority to recommend action to the school council, on a regular basis, is a useless body and will diminish the participants confidence in, and motivation for, participating in school-based decision making.
We suggest the following in creating by-laws regarding school council committee operation:
1. Each committee chairperson is required to report to the school council at each of its meetings regarding the committee's actions, discussions, and its recommendations.
2. Each committee uses consensus decision making to arrive at its recommendations. In the event that consensus cannot be achieved, a vote of committee members is taken to determine recommendations. This vote would occur only if two committee members call for a vote.
3. Minutes for each committee are compiled by a committee recording secretary and submitted to the committee chairperson so that the chairperson can submit them to the school council recording secretary at the time of the committee report. The keeping of minutes is required by KRS 61.870-884, the Open Records Law.
4. The requirements for compliance with KRS 61.805-850 are listed in Program Review No. 93-SBDM-125 in the appendix of this manual.
5. Committee agendas are to be established by the committee chairperson. Agenda items are generated by issues assigned by the school council, items suggested by committee members, and items presented for consideration by others who are concerned.
6. Items submitted to the committee by the school council are to be represented by the chairperson of the committee or a school council member. Items submitted by a committee member or someone else, must be represented by the person submitting the item or a designee.
7. Items submitted to the school council for consideration must be submitted to either a standing committee or to an ad hoc committee for research, discussion and recommendation. The school council can approve, reject, amend and approve, or resubmit the item to a committee for further study.
8. Ad hoc committees are formed by the method described earlier for forming standing committees.
9. Committee membership should reflect the percentage of minority students in the student body and the community.
How Do We Conduct Effective Committee Meetings
Once a committee structure has been established, membership decided, and operational procedures defined, then committee business is ready to be conducted.
The organizational meeting for the committee should be established at a time convenient to its members. The purpose of the organizational meeting is to elect a chairperson and to establish a regular date, time, and location for meetings. These decisions are reported to the school council and to the community.
Suggestions for effective committee meetings are as follows:
1. The agenda for the committee is the responsibility of the chairperson. Committee members or others who wish to have time on the agenda report this to the chairperson at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. Items that are assigned to the committee by the school council are the responsibility of the committee chairperson or another school council member.
2. The meeting should begin promptly at the time designated.
3. Copies of the agenda are distributed to all members and posted at the school as soon as they are established.
4. Extra copies of the agenda are available for guests or members who need another copy.
5. Include a time on each agenda to hear comments and suggestions from the public.
6. Welcome guests and or new committee members to the meeting. Allow time for guests to introduce themselves.
7. Follow the agenda.
8. The chairperson serves as the facilitator, or the council may appoint a facilitator. The facilitator:
- monitors time
- handles disruptive situations
- keeps the group on task
- checks for agreement
- makes sure that individual goals are secondary to group goals
- makes sure everyone has a chance to participate
- defends others from personal attack
- makes suggestions on how to proceed
- offers and encourages compromises that include ideas of all present
- helps build trust among committee members
9. The chairperson ensures that someone is recording official minutes of the meeting.
10. Distribute minutes of past meetings prior to the meeting so that a reading of the minutes is not necessary. Minutes can be approved as written or amended as recorded.
11. The recorder gives a synopsis of the meeting at its conclusion so that everyone knows what will be reported from the committee. This is especially important if recommendations are to be made from the committee for the school council to consider. This is the "last chance" to check the consensus.
12. As a group, agree on a reasonable adjournment time so that members can plan other activities. Announce this time at the beginning of the meeting and hold to it. If business is not complete, the committee may reach consensus to extend the meeting or schedule another.
How Does Our Committee Report To The School Council
All committees that are established by the school council, whether standing or ad hoc, may be required to report at each regular school council meeting. If the committee work is incomplete, that may be reported. The school council should always know the status and progress of each committee's work.
The chairperson or his/her designee is responsible for delivering this report to the council. For the sake of school council members and the school council recorder, the report may be accompanied by a concise written report of the committee's recommendations and discussions. The school council recorder files those for future reference. These reports are often one to two paragraphs and rarely exceed one page.