School Boards as Policymakers
One of your school board's most important functions is policymaking. Policy is the voice of the board speaking when the board is not convened. Through policy, the board sets goals for the entire school system.
Policymaking is a continuous process; it doesn't end once a policy decision is made. Written policy creates continuity, informs the public, and helps to separate emotions and personalities from decision-making. When reviewing your policies, think about these questions:
- Do your policies clearly reflect current district views on the issues?
- Are your policies tied to your school's educational goals and purposes?
- Are your policies consistent with each other?
- Do your policies comply with current state and federal laws and regulations?
Policy in Today's Challenging Environment
School boards face a difficult challenge in creating written policies for the governance of their school districts. A thorough set of written policies provides a legal record, establishing a legal basis for the daily actions and decisions of your district administrators and employees. They also create a framework for your board to focus on articulating district goals and establishing long-term continuity. While these policies describe the board's expectations for the operation of the district, they must also delegate authority and allow for the professional discretion of administrators and staff.
It is particularly useful for schools with new superintendents or new board members to revisit the district's governing principles. The discussion arising out of this process is crucial to setting priorities, clarifying roles, and creating a sense of teamwork. NASB's School Policy Service will assist your leadership team in developing a practical set of policies that define and describe your school's decision-making processes.
If you've done any substantial policy writing and revision, you know it can be a time-intensive task. If your school policies are in need of a review, a revision or a complete policy customization we urge you to contact NASB soon so we can schedule your district's policy services during the coming year.
Policy Update Service
This service is offered on an annual subscription basis. It will include a Policy Reference Manual consisting of sample policies with explanatory notes as needed, legal references and cross-references. The subscription also includes new or revised policies published during the year to address important legislative and legal changes.
We are also creating an Administrative Regulations Manual as a guide to implementation of the sample policies. This will also include sample forms where appropriate.
Cost for the next calendar year for Policy Update subscribers is $495 per district.
Policy Review Service
We will evaluate a district's existing policy manual, check for consistency and provide your board with a "road map" of policy areas requiring improvements and suggestions to build upon.
The Review Report includes recommendations for specific policy language changes to meet the requirements of current law. In the event a basic policy is missing, a sample will be provided.
Cost will vary according to the scope of the particular review and district size, generally from $2100 - $3100, plus the annual Policy Update subscription fee. We have openings for a limited number of Review districts. When these openings are filled, we will place districts on the waiting list for the next group of reviews on a first come, first served basis. Reviews will require 6 to 8 months to complete.
Policy Customization Service
This service is for school districts which have completed our Policy Review. This process will implement the report of the Policy Review Service but adds several unique additional services to create a completed, customized policy manual, with legal referencing and indexing. We will compare your existing policy to the district's employment contracts, handbooks, and board minutes for the last 3 years.
Our Policy Services Manager will work directly with your board and administrator through several policy sessions to first clarify goals, then discuss and revise district policy in those areas requiring significant board decisions.
Cost will vary according to scope, generally ranging from $5000 - $7500, less the amount paid for the previously completed Review Service if begun within 12 months of that report, plus annual Policy Update subscription fee.
For more information, or to join please contact:
Nebraska Association of School Boards
1311 Stockwell Street | Lincoln, NE 68502
402-423-4951 | 800-422-4572