Section: Board Governance and Operations
Title: Advisory Panels or Committees to the Board of Education
Adopted: August 6, 2019
The Portland Board of Public Education (the Board) has a strong commitment to citizen participation. The Board believes that Portland Public Schools are strengthened when community members are actively engaged in the education process. In support of this belief, the Board may appoint citizen advisory panels or committees to provide opportunities for citizens to advise the Board on major issues pertaining to Portland Public Schools.
The Board of Education shall decide when a citizen advisory panel or committee is needed. The Board may create one or more citizen advisory panels to explore specific issues of interest to the Board and the school district, to identify options for Board consideration, and to advise the Board on topics facing the school district. Citizen advisory panels or committees shall not have final decision-making authority or act independently of the Board. The charge, length of service, and membership appointment procedure for a citizen advisory panel shall be established through a resolution passed by the Board. The Board will also approve a Scope of Work for the citizen advisory panel or committee. The advisory panel or committee will not act inconsistently with Board policy or direction. The Board may discontinue a citizen advisory panel or committee at any time.
The Board will endeavor to make certain that each citizen advisory panel or committee’s membership represents a cross section of the public schools as well as representatives from the community at large. Composition of the Board’s advisory panels or committees will be consistent with the Board of Education regulations. Advisory citizen panels or committee members shall be residents of the City of Portland or employees of the Portland Public Schools or the City of Portland. The Board may waive the residency requirement on an individual basis. The citizen advisory panels or committees will serve without compensation.
Openings for advisory citizen panels or committee positions will be posted by the Appointments Committee at a minimum during the months of January and September. The Appointment Committee, with staff assistance, will publicly advertise committee membership openings through the Portland Public School website and the Portland Public Schools Office of Communications.
Prior to filling advisory panels or committee seats, an application must be submitted. The Appointment Committee will use Board approved criteria for selection. Prospective members should be consulted by the Appointments Committee Chair on their willingness and availability to serve.
If members of the panel or committee include Portland Public School staff, these will be nominated by the Superintendent. The Board Chair will appoint Board member(s) to the advisory committee based on the Board approved resolution mandate.
Before all appointments are made final, the Board must vote by a majority on member(s) selection. Candidates who are not chosen should be advised through a letter.
Advisory or committee meetings shall be held in accordance with the resolution or as necessary, and shall be open to the public.
Advisory committees are considered “public bodies” under the Maine’s Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) and as such are subject to meetingrequirements including:
1. Advance public notice;
2. Materials are available to the public, unless confidential by law;
3. Meetings are open to the public; and
4. Written minutes.
Agendas for advisory committee meetings, as well as presentations and any documents for distribution at the meeting, shall be provided to the School Board and the public at least three days in advance of meetings.
Advisory panel or committee members are expected to attend meetings on a regular basis. Members should inform the panel or committee chair as soon as possible when unable to attend an upcoming meeting, preferably at least 48 hours notice due to quorum considerations.
Citizen panel or committee members are expected to attend on a regular basis. Twice during the school year, the Appointment Committee will analyze the membership with the advisory committee’s chair or co-chair.
If a member has missed three consecutive meetings the advisory committee chair or co-chair may make a recommendation to the Board Chair for an evaluation of absences. The Board Chair must make a decision to consider a replacement and inform the advisory committee chair and co-chair, as well as the Appointments Committee Chair. The Board Chair or the advisory committee chair will inform the absent member of any decision.
If a replacement is deemed necessary, the Appointments Committee would bring forward a replacement candidate, determined from the committee applicants list and based on initial criteria, for a Board vote at the next Board meeting.
IV. Member Resignation
Members are asked to inform the advisory committee chair and co-chair as soon as possible if they decide they can no longer serve and must step down. The same process for replacement of a member of the citizen advisory panel or committee is followed if a member decides to resign. The member must submit their resignation in writing to the advisory chair and co-chair.
Any advisory panel or committee member may be removed from any advisory committee by a majority vote of the School Board for any lawful reason. The Board Chair, or the advisory committee chair or co-chair, will contact or notify the member to discuss the situation before any action is taken. That committee member will, if requested, be provided the opportunity to address the Board. If a replacement is needed the above steps will be followed.
VI. Staff Support
The Superintendent shall provide a staff liaison to each advisory panel or committee. The Superintendent will help committees achieve their goals by providing them with reasonable support and material resources. “Reasonable support” includes data reports and staff resources, including providing any data necessary for the committee to develop its Scope of Work and recommendations to the Board.
Adopted: August 6, 2019
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