School Board adopts MASB guidelines

(Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette) Hancock School Board members discuss the adoption of new MASB guidelines that define the role of the superintendent and that of the board. Left to right are: Rod Paavola, Michael Lancour, Wendy Chynoweth, Catherine Jordan, Randy Heinonen, and Board President, Dale Karo. Trustee Chuck Paoli was present via conference call.

HANCOCK — The Hancock School Board Monday adopted Defined Role Expectations for the board and superintendent as suggested by the Michigan Association of School Board (MASB). The board passed the measure on the recommendation of Superintendent Steve Patchin.

The MASB emphasizes that the board and the superintendent have very distinct and separate roles, yet together they form a school district’s leadership team.

A superintendent and the board must develop a mutual understanding of their respective roles, then review and validate that understanding on a regular basis, in order to establish an effective working relationship. An honest and candid discussion of the functions of each other will greatly enhance the partnership between the superintendent and the board, the MASB website states.

Patchin distributed handouts to the board members at the regular monthly meeting Monday, which defined the role of both the superintendent and the role of the board. In summary, the MASB states that the superintendent is the CEO of the school district, and in that role, he or she is responsible for:

A. Implementing policy set by the board

B. Making recommendations to the board based on his/her best educational knowledge regarding:

• Personnel

• Curriculum

• Budget

C. Informing the board of all vital matters pertaining to the school district

D. Developing and maintaining an efficient and effective management system for the school district

E. Delegating appropriate responsibilities and assigning duties to other employees of the district, but ultimately being accountable for their actions

F. Recommending all candidates for employment and being directly and indirectly responsible for their administration

G. Developing and improving instructional programming of the school including being alert to advances and improvements in educational programming

H. Preparing and submitting a preliminary budget to the board and managing the financial operations of the school district.

The MASB states that while the superintendent is charged with administering policy, it is the school board’s responsibility to make policy. With effective board/superintendent teams, each side clearly understands its roles and responsibilities. The school board’s areas of responsibility include:

• Goal setting: The district vision is translated into long- and short-term goals. The board establishes the structure to accomplish the vision, and periodically evaluates the results.

• Policy: Establishes policy for the district and shares in policy development.

• Designating and Evaluating the Superintendent: Recruits, hires and evaluates the performance of the superintendent.

• Budget: Reviews the budget submitted by the superintendent and aligns the funding priorities with the district goals.

• Curriculum: Approves recommended curriculum and textbooks based on standards, goals and policies established by the board. Review and evaluate curriculum as it relates to student assessment results.

• Staffing and Appraisal: Adopts policies governing salaries and salary schedules, terms and conditions of employment, fringe benefits, leave and professional development, and employee evaluations.

• Facilities: Determines school facility needs and communicates proposed construction plans to the community.

Patchin introduced the guidelines at the December meeting as valuable tools in helping both the board and the superintendent in understanding what is expected of each other, adding that the MASB also offers training.

“I just think it would be good for everybody to be on the same page,” Patchin said. “Not that we’re not, but I just like things in writing, especially for the continuity of our board.”