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0003 - Ethics and Responsibilities

 Board of Education / Planning and Goals Washington County School District
Adopted 8-14-01

1. Policy:

1.1.  Elected members of the Washington County School Board are representatives of the citizens of Washington County. As such, they shall:

1.1.1. Recognize that their primary duty is to represent the entire community.

1.1.2. Seek to understand the feelings and opinions of the citizens.

1.1.3. Endeavor to keep informed on all local and national educational developments of significance.

1.1.4. Try earnestly to interpret the needs and attitudes of the entire district and translate them into the educational policy of the District.

2. Procedure

2.2. Ethical Responsibilities: The Board of Education commits itself to the highest ethical conduct. Each member of the Board shall:

2.2.1. Accept the concept that each Board member is only one member of an educational team and has no authority except as a member of the Board in a legally constituted meeting. Endeavor to attend all Board meetings, on time, eager and prepared. Help focus meetings on important matters, remembering that the student is always the Board's most important matter. Devote sufficient time to the study of pending matters in order to be prepared to contribute in the Board meeting and explain those issues to members of the school community. Avoid surprises. Communicate and collaborate with rest of Board and Superintendent before, during, and after Board Meetings. Confine Board action to policy development, planning, evaluation, personnel actions, and maintaining the fiscal stability of the District. The execution of policies established by the Board is the function of the Superintendent. The Board does not function as an administrative officer. Vote on official actions only in public sessions. Do not engage in dialogue during public comment, except to clarify, thank, and refer. Don't solve issues, refer them. Have realistic expectations of resolution to controversy.

2.2.2. Abide by majority decisions of the Board once they are made. Accept and support them so long as a member of the Board. During re-election, be free to repeat and support the minority opinion that may have been personally held when a decision was made.

2.2.3. Delegate authority to the Board President to serve as the Board executive and professional advisor and to conduct Board meetings.

2.2.4. Assure the opportunity for high quality education for every student, within the fiscal limitations of the District. Endeavor to see that all funds shall be expended efficiently, economically, and for the best interest of the schools. Seek appropriate funding strategies to assist the District, as needed. Align actions and funds with organizational convictions and desired results.

2.2.5. Maintain confidentiality of privileged information. Protect at all times privileged communications that are discussed in executive (closed) sessions of the Board or that are learned in other privileged meetings including attorney-client communications. Not discuss the confidential business of the Board in the home, on the street, in the office, or any other place other than in a School Board Meeting or appropriate committee meeting. Protect the privacy rights of students and employees granted under federal and state law. Not discuss personnel matters outside of Board meetings, except as necessary to listen to concerns and immediately refer these concerns to the administration.

2.2.6. Maintain the highest standards of personal integrity and dignity of this office. Comply with all state and federal laws applicable to a member of the Board including the "Utah Public Officer and Employees' Ethics Act." (Utah Code Ann. 67-16-1 to 14) Avoid personal attacks of any kind.

2.2.7. Insure an atmosphere in which controversial issues can be presented fairly and in which the dignity of each individual is maintained. Value the diverse opinions of others and resolve conflict amicably, with civility and responsibility. Listen closely to others, being careful about interrupting them or dominating discussions. Have the courage to be understood. Achieve unity; be a team player. Endeavor to avoid rancor and bitterness, to observe proper decorum and behavior, to encourage full and open discussions in all matters with fellow Board Members and Superintendent, to treat them with respect and consideration, and not to withhold or conceal from them any information or matter in which they should be considered or be concerned. Hear what Board Members, administration and other individuals or groups may have to say with an open mind before making final decisions. Make no disparaging remarks, in or out of the Board Meeting, about other members of the Board or their opinions, or members of the administration, but reserve the right to make honest and respect criticism . Address any concerns or criticism about a Board member directly to that person or to the president of the Board and not raise those concerns through third parties or anonymously. Avoid personalization of issues.

2.2.8. Respect the Office and in no way misuse the power inherent in the Office. Not use the schools, school programs, or District for their own personal advantage or for the advantage of friends. Avoid all conflicts of interest, both pecuniary and non-pecuniary. Take no private action that will compromise the Board or the administration.

2.2.9. Support the Superintendent in decisions that conform to professional standards and Board policy. Take action on matters only after having considerations and recommendations of the Superintendent. Encourage all employees and group representation of employees to avail themselves of all administrative remedies and procedures before requesting Board involvement. Except in unusual circumstances, follow channels for communication, whereby requests for material and information from employees for any Board action will be transmitted to the Board through the Superintendent and Board members will request information and action through the Superintendent. This policy shall, however, in no way restrict individual Board members from full and complete access to the District and to a complete range of inquiry to the Superintendent, who will obtain information from the District employees for the Board Members so they may be more fully informed and may properly exercise their responsibilities as voting members of the Board.

2.2.10. Advise all employees of the District that the hiring, assigning, transferring, terminating, or discipline of personnel of the District will be handled according to established personnel policies through the Office of Human Resources. Pursue accountability by appropriate evaluation and measurement.

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