About the Board/Frequently Asked Questions
If I have a question or concern about something in the district, whom should I contact?
If you have a concern, we encourage you to talk first with your child’s teacher, and then the CSA. Should the CSA be unable to resolve a problem, and it involves district policy, school board meetings and agenda items, the budget, or requests for specific courses or programs, the Board of Education is the final
step in the process. Please remember that all personnel items should be referred directly to the administration.
How is the board organized?
Frenchtown has a seven member elected board. Following board elections in November, the board convenes a reorganization meeting (January) whereby a president and vice president are elected for a one year term by the new board. The president is the primary spokesperson for the board. S/he also ensures that meetings are conducted efficiently. The president also works closely with the superintendent to discuss long-range plans for board meetings. The vice president fulfills these duties if the president is unable to do so.
What is the role of the Board of Education?
The Board of Education does not “run” the Frenchtown Elementary School. That’s the job of the CSA. Rather, the BOE’s job is to ensure that the school is well run. The Board does this by
1) Setting district policies and goals
2) Communicating policies and goals to the administrator
3) Overseeing the budget
4) Hiring and evaluating the administrator/s
5) Serving as the communications link between the community and the school district.
What happens at Board of Education meetings?
At public meetings, the Board of Education takes official action on school business, discusses policy and confirms personnel appointments recommended by the superintendent. Board members have the opportunity to discuss items prior to voting on official agenda items. At every public meeting of the Board, there are two opportunities for the public to address the Board.
Does the public have a role in board meetings?
The primary purpose of board meetings is for the board to carry out its responsibilities of reviewing, discussing, and making decisions on a wide range of policy-related issues. The public is permitted to observe the board at work and is invited to participate in specific portions of the meeting within the guidelines outlined by board policy. Each meeting requires that the board conduct its business efficiently, within a reasonable time frame. Included is the opportunity for questions and comments from Frenchtown community members. The board president moderates the discussion while ensuring that board members have ample opportunity and information to make decisions. S/he also ensures that the opportunity for the public to make comment on topics of interest is provided.
How are meeting times and agenda communicated?
Meetings are typically held the last Tuesday of each month beginning at 6:45 pm in the school’s library. Meeting times are advertised in local newspapers and posted at the school, as well as on the website.
Where can I get a copy of an upcoming Board of Education meeting agenda?
The Board of Education meeting agenda is posted at the school and on the website by Monday afternoon prior to the meeting.
Where and when can I get minutes from a previous Board of Education meeting?
Minutes of public Board of Education meetings are available on the district website or in the business office located at the school. Board minutes are presented for approval at subsequent Board meetings, in order to be voted into the public record. Draft minutes are posted on the website approximately one week after the Board meeting. These minutes are not official and may be amended before approval at the next Board meeting.
Why does the Board go into closed Executive Session?
The Frenchtown Board of Education may meet in closed Executive Session prior to, or at the end of, a regular public meeting. In accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act (aka the “Sunshine Law”), closed Executive Sessions are not open to the public. Although debate may be private, any action taken must be in public session. The Board will indicate that “action may be taken” when they return to public session and before the meeting is adjourned.
Only items that fall under the following topics may be discussed during closed
· Collective bargaining agreements/proposals or other contracts
· Personnel issues
· Matters confidential by law
· Items protected by attorney-client privilege
· Matters of individual privacy
· Specific pending or anticipated litigation
· Purchase or lease of real estate
· Protecting public safety
Who is eligible to serve on the board?
Citizens of Frenchtown who have lived in the district for one year or more, are registered to vote, are able to read and write, are not serving as a member of local government, and have no legal or financial conflict of interest with the board are eligible to serve. Board elections are held annually in November, and board members are elected for three-year terms.
How is the Board of Education selected?
Members are elected to three-year terms by the local voters. School board elections are in November. If a vacancy occurs between elections, the current Board will select a new board member, to serve until the next election. New members take their seats at the next regular public meeting of the Board.
I am interested in raising money for a special item or program for the school. How can I do this?
The Frenchtown Elementary School is very lucky to have benefited from the generous donations of various organizations and individuals. The PTO has been extremely generous and successful at raising money for items that the school might not otherwise be able to afford. If you would like to make a personal donation to the school, please speak directly to our CSA. If you feel that there is something for which you would like to raise money, the best way to do this is through the PTO. The PTO President communicates regularly with the CSA
about opportunities for donations.
What is the Board member’s Code of Ethics?
All school board members in New Jersey are required to abide by the following
Code of Ethics for School Board Members:
a) I will uphold and enforce all laws, rules and regulations of the State Board of Education, and court orders pertaining to schools. Desired changes shall be brought about only through legal and ethical procedures.
b) I will make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain public schools that meet the individual needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex, or social standing.
c) I will confine my board action to policy making, planning, and appraisal, and I will help to frame policies and plans only after the board has consulted those who will be affected by them.
d) I will carry out my responsibility, not to administer the schools, but, together with my fellow board members, to see that they are well run.
e) I will recognize that authority rests with the board of education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the board.
f) I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups or to use the schools for personal gain or for the gain of friends.
g) I will hold confidential all matters pertaining to the schools which, if disclosed, would needlessly injure individuals or the schools. In all other matters, I will provide accurate information and, in concert with my fellow board members, interpret to the staff the aspirations of the community for its school.
h) I will vote to appoint the best-qualified personnel available after consideration of the recommendation of the chief administrative officer.
i) I will support and protect school personnel in proper performance of their duties.
j) I will refer all complaints to the chief administrative officer and will act on the complaints at public meetings only after failure of an administrative solution.