For the purpose of enhancing teamwork among members of the board and between the board and the administration, we, the members of the Owego Apalachin School Board, do hereby publicly commit ourselves collectively and individually to the following protocol:
1. Don't spring surprises on other board members or the superintendent. Surprises to the board or the superintendent will be the exception, not the rule. There should be no surprises at a board meeting. We agree to ask the board president or the superintendent to place an item on the agenda instead of bringing it up unexpectedly at the meeting.
2. Communication between staff and the board is encouraged. However, board requests that will likely require considerable time or have political implications are to be directed to the superintendent. All personnel complaints and criticisms received by the board or its individual members will be directed to the superintendent.
3. Follow the chain of command. The last stop, not the first, will be the board. We agree to follow the chain of command and insist that others do so. While the board is eager to listen to its constituents and staff, each inquiry is to be referred to the person who can properly and expeditiously address the issue.
4. Own your own issues. The board will not be a ball carrier for others -but rather, will encourage others to present their own points, problems or proposals when discussing issues.
5. Practice the governance role. The board will emphasize planning, policy-making, and communication rather than becoming involved in the management of the schools.
6. Clearly state goals. The board will set clear goals for themselves and the superintendent. The board and the superintendent will set clear goals for the Owego Apalachin School District.
7. Utilize CEO input. The superintendent is the chief executive officer and should make recommendations, proposals or suggestions on most matters that come before the board.
8. Board acts only as a body. Individual board members do not have authority. Only the board as a whole has authority. We agree that an individual board member will not take unilateral action. When board members serve on various school committees, their role shall be defined by the board as silent observer or active participant. The Board president shall be the spokesperson for the board to all media inquiries of the board.
9. Debate the issues, not one another. Conduct at a board meeting is very important. We agree to avoid words or actions that create a negative impression on an individual, the board or the district. While we encourage debate and differing points of view, we will do it with care and respect to avoid an escalation of negative impression or incidents.
10. Avoid marathon board meetings. To be efficient and effective, long board meetings must be avoided. Points are to be made in as few words as possible; speeches at board meetings will be minimal. If a board member believes s/he doesn't have enough information or has questions, either the superintendent or the board chair is to be called before the meeting.
11. Practice efficient decision-making. Board meetings are for decision-making, action and votes, not endless discussion. We agree to move the question when discussion is repetitive.
12. Speak to agenda issues. The board will not play to the audience. We agree to speak to the issues on the agenda and attend to our fellow board members. Facts and information needed from the administration will be referred to the superintendent.
13. Executive/closed sessions will be held only for appropriate subjects. Executive sessions will be held only when specific needs arise. Board members will respect the confidentiality of the session and will be extremely sensitive to the legal ramifications of their meetings and comments.
14. Children's interests come first. The board will represent the needs and interests of all the children in our district.