ABOUT THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Responsibilities of the Board
The Pocantico Hills Board of Education has four key leadership responsibilities which complement the School Board’s legal responsibility to comply with state and federal education law:
Vision – Set the vision for education in the local school on behalf of the community.
Structure – Establish the structure and environment to implement the vision including hiring of key administrative personnel, strategic planning and annual goal setting, development and approval of policies, setting the budget to accomplish the strategy, and setting high instructional standards for students and staff.
Accountability – Foster an environment to help each student achieve the highest standards for themselves including a commitment to high academic standards, effective assessment and measurement of progress against the standards, processes to ensure all students reach their potential, and a commitment to continuous improvement.
Advocacy – Serve as education’s key advocate on behalf of students and their school in the community in order to achieve the school’s overall mission for its students.
There are five elected Board of Education Trustees, each serving a rotating three-year term. Each Board Trustee has an equal vote on all issues. The Board President and Vice President are elected by the School Board for one year of service.
The meeting of the Board of Education is a meeting of the Board Trustees to discuss agenda items, vote on key decisions, hear key progress reports, and raise issues for discussion among Board Trustees and the superintendent. Regular Board meetings are critical to making progress towards District Goals and ensuring that the Board is managing the critical areas of their elected responsibilities. Board meetings are the only forums where Board Trustees can meet and vote on key topics facing the District.
One of the operational goals of the Board of Education is to conduct Board business openly. The Board of Education in public school districts are specifically guided by “sunshine laws” which legally mandate that all School Board meetings be held in public with the exception of specific topics covered by law for Executive Session.
Meeting Logistics and Protocols
Board of Education meetings are generally held twice a month, on Tuesday evenings at 8:00 pm in the school library. In addition to the elected Board Trustees, the Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent/District Clerk are in atttendance.
A schedule of meetings, meeting agendas, discussion topics, and approved minutes of past meetings are posted on the District's website. Agendas are also sent home with each student on the Friday preceding the Board meeting.
A Board of Education meeting is often referred to as a “meeting in public”, “not a public meeting”. Generally speaking, this means that the Board of Education meeting is not a public, “town hall” type of meeting where active debate, questions, and conversation are exchanged between the public and Board Trustees. The intention of this is not to close off communication with the public, but rather to ensure that the Board of Education is effectively and efficiently conducting business on behalf of the District and making progress towards its stated goals while adhering to the “open meeting” laws of the State.
Although this is a meeting of the Board Trustees, not a public meeting, the Board of Education recognizes the value of active community participation. Therefore, a specific time is set aside for public participation at each meeting to comment or make statements for the Board’s consideration that were not covered on the agenda. This portion of the meeting is called “Hearing From Those Present”.
We believe that effective dialogue can occur only in an atmosphere of mutual respect. We invite members of the public to share this commitment with us and respectfully request that anyone wishing to speak during “Hearing From Those Present” keep these guidelines in mind:
- When speaking at meetings, individuals should state their name and identify the organization, if any, they represent.
- Speakers should address the Board President or the Board as a whole, not the audience.
- Those wishing to address the Board should confine their remarks to a reasonable time to give others a chance to speak.
- All participants are expected to conduct themselves in a civil manner that does not disrupt the meeting.
- When appropriate, the Board President (or designee) will direct comments or questions from speakers to the Superintendent.
- The Board President may, at his or her discretion, limit individual comments and public participation in general in order to accomplish the business of the Board.
There are several other ways to make your ideas and opinions known to school district personnel and individual Board Trustees. For pupil, faculty, recreational facilities, and all school related topics, residents are encouraged to contact appropriate district personnel first for response by the school administration. In addition, the District sponsors neighborhood meetings twice a year and holds “Open Forums” at the school. Board of Education Trustees also welcome you to contact them directly by email, telephone, or mail with any issue, question, or concern.
Contact information for Board Trustees and key District Administration personnel are available on this website.