Barre Town Supervisory
District Policy Manual
Code of Ethics for School Board Members/School Administrators
A school board member has no legal powers
or authority unless acting at a school board meeting or acting for the
school board after it formally grants power to act on its behalf. A school
board member should perform the duties of a school board member in a
manner consistent with this Code of Ethics.
Creating a working relationship of trust
and respect is at the heart of this professional covenant developed
between the board, administration, staff and the public. Board members can
demonstrate their personal commitment to abide by the Code of Ethics by
signing this document signifying that they agree to uphold the principles,
both, in letter and spirit.
- Attend all regularly scheduled board
meetings, insofar as possible, and review study materials about the
issues to be considered on each agenda.
- Set goals for the school system and
establish policies to direct its administration.
- Maintain confidentiality of discussion
conducted in executive session and of other privileged information.
- Abide by board decisions regardless of
how individuals voted.
- Act only as a member of the board and do
not assume authority as an individual in school matters when the board
is not in session.
- Be familiar with and observe Vermont
- Listen to legal counsel and constructive
criticism to protect the board and the school system from liability.
- Give school administrators authority
commensurate with their responsibility work through the properly
appointed school officials according to the school systemís organization
and policies, and support school administrators in the performance of
- Expect the superintendent to keep the
board adequately informed through regular written or oral reports and
hold the superintendent accountable through an annual job performance
- Refer complaints, requests, and concerns
to the superintendent or other appropriate staff member.
- Use the chain of command and avoid
making commitments or promises that compromise the board, administration
or the school system.
- Listen to the recommendations of the
superintendent and staff before making decisions and provide ongoing
feedback to the superintendent.
- Recognize that a board memberís
responsibility is to see that schools are well run, but not to run them.
Board Member Relations
- Retain independent judgment and refuse
to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups.
- Voice opinions responsibility, maintain
good relations with other board members, respect other board membersí
rights and opinions, and make no disparaging remarks, in or out of the
board meeting, about other board members or school staff. Instead,
express opinions in a professional, fair manner.
- Accept the responsibility to secure
facts before arriving at conclusions.
- Expect more time to be spent learning
about educational programs and procedures than on business details at
- Support employment of the best qualified
school staff and insist on regular, impartial employee evaluations.
- Hire no superintendent, principal or
teacher already under contract with another school unless assurance is
first secured from the proper authority that the person can be released
- Represent the entire community and vote
for what seems best for the children of the school system.
- Interpret the attitudes, wishes and
needs of the community to school administrators and communicate the
aims, methods and goals of the schools to the community.
- Create an environment that fosters
community participation and involvement.
Conflict of Interest
- Refrain from using board membership for
political, personal or business advancement.
- Recognize conflicts of interest and
avoid being placed in a position or perceived conflict of interest in
hiring, letting bids, approving contracts and other financial affairs of
the school system.
Board Preparation and Training
- Be informed about educational issues by
individual study and through participating in programs providing needed
information, such as those sponsored by the Vermont and National School
- Take advantage of opportunities to
improve your knowledge and to build your skills as locally elected
members of school governing boards.
- Associate with board members from other
schools to discuss school problems and cooperate in the improvement of
public school conditions.
- Provide assistance to new school board
members and make sure adequate orientation and training opportunities
are offered them.
Progressive Consequences for Failure to
Follows the Code of Ethics:
- Board chair and superintendent
informally meet in private with offending board member to discuss
alleged Code of Ethics violation.
- Board reprimand offending board member
in executive session [A disciplinary or dismissal action against a
public officerÖ1VSA, 313(4)].
- Publicly censure (reprimand) offending
board member at a warned board meeting and reflect action in meeting
minutes [Robertís Rules of Order].
- Board announce position in opposition to
offending board memberís action(s) at warned board meeting, reflect
board position in meeting minutes, and directly communicate board
position to news media that the offending board memberís
statements/actions are not supported by the board.
- Board officially request offending board
memberís resignation [however, the board has no authority to enforce
I agree to abide by the principles outlined
in the School Board Code of Ethics and will do everything in my power to
work as a productive member of the leadership team.
1st Reading: January 5, 2005
2nd Reading: February 2, 2005