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  • Last modified 101 days ago (Feb. 14, 2019)

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Attorney reviews legalities of being a school board member

Staff writer

Centre Board of Education members were schooled Monday on board policies.

Donna Whiteman, an attorney with Kansas Association of School Boards, spent an hour reviewing the legalities of being a school board member.

She said each board member has a “fiduciary” responsibility. That is, he or she holds a position that requires total trust, good faith, and honesty.

Each member must keep informed, work well with others, show dignity and respect, and monitor finances.

“You must follow board policies whether or not you agree with them,” Whiteman said. “If four of seven members approve a policy, the other three must support it.”

Whiteman stressed that board members have no authority outside of a board meeting. They have no right as individuals to demand anything of employees or other people.

She reminded them not to talk to a spouse or children about board matters and refrain from making statements in public or on social media regarding the same.

“Always assume you are being recorded,” she said.

It is important for board members to follow the policy on individual communications with employees because they have rights and can hold the board accountable for words or actions that impugn their character.

Whiteman said the superintendent is responsible for managing the district on a day-to-day basis. Board members make policy.

She emphasized the need to follow the right order when dealing with problem situations. Complaints should first be referred to a teacher, and if not resolved there, should go to the principal, then to superintendent, and lastly to the board.

“The situation should be solved at the lowest level possible,” Whiteman said.

Board members don’t need to explain a “No” vote when questioned by others, she said. Minutes only need to record the vote, not list names of opposing members when the vote is not unanimous.

“It takes only four votes to approve an action,” she said. “You need to work as a team.”

Actions taken

The board voted to sell surplus or unused ag equipment and miscellaneous items. The items will be listed on Centre’s social media page. Closed bids will be taken at the district office from Feb. 12 to 28.

Purchase of new junior high basketball uniforms was approved at a cost of $5,200.

Last modified Feb. 14, 2019

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