Source: Sherman Publications

School board OKs rules for communication

by Wendi Reardon

June 15, 2011

Unwritten rules for school board members soon will be, as a new set of Board Operating Procedures gains approval.

Clarkston Board of Education members voted unanimously, Monday, to approve first draft of the rule book, which includes a Code of Ethics as well as regulations on trustee communication with each other, the public, and media.

Regulations include naming the board president as official spokesperson for the entire board to the media; requiring board members who receive calls from the media to direct them to the board president; address each other, staff, and public by title and last name; and only speak at meetings after acknowledgement from the board president.

Board Treasurer Rosalie Lieblang questioned its placement on the agenda as an action item, not just for discussion.

“I thought we were going to collect different areas someone wanted to discuss,” Lieblang said. “Before we adopt this, I would like to discuss it.”

Board President Steve Hyer said the proposal is just a draft. They adapted policies from Berkley School District’s operating procedures and changed them to meet Clarkston’s needs. The draft can be amended at later meetings.

"I thought I created a document we could move forward on," Hyer said.

Trustee Cheryl McGinnis found the proposal to be what she expected.

"We shouldn’t slice and dice this document," McGinnis said. "We got recommendation from Dr. Rock after two sessions, and looked at it and made recommendations. I thought bringing it back as a revised first draft was a good start."

The board voted 7-0 to approve the 15-page document as presented. It includes sections on Code of Ethics, Meetings, Communication, Board Development, Board District Oversight, Policy/Procedures, and Personnel.