School Board Policy 215 -
School Board Member Code of Conduct

Adopted: January 10, 2011

1.

I. Purpose 

The purpose of this policy is to assist school board members in communicating and understanding the reasonable expectations regarding acceptable conduct of individual school board members. It is the responsibility of the school board to make reasonable rules and regulations for the governing of school board member behavior and conduct. This policy supplements School Board Policy 209, Code of Ethics, which is incorporated by reference. All rules and regulations regarding school board member conduct will be approved by the school board.

II. General Statement of Policy 

It is the policy of the school board to regulate the proper functions of a school board member. The effectiveness of the school board depends upon community respect and confidence in individual school board members. Conduct which detracts from this respect and confidence is detrimental to the public interest and is prohibited. It is the policy of the school board to investigate claims that an individual school board member has engaged in unbecoming conduct, and to impose appropriate sanctions. Each school board member shall follow the code of conduct set forth in this policy.

III. Scope and Guiding Principles 

This policy applies to the conduct of all school board members. The following principles shall serve as guidelines for the school board member code of conduct.

1. School board members shall conduct themselves in accordance with all applicable laws, ordinances, and rules, and shall not knowingly exceed their authority in their official actions on behalf of the school board.

2. School board members shall not exhibit any conduct that discredits himself or herself or the school board or otherwise impairs his or her ability to perform school board duties or represent the school board in a manner consistent with the integrity and trustworthiness expected by the public. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to the following

a. School board members shall not make disparaging remarks, in or out of school board meetings, about other members of the school board.

b. School board members shall not make any promises regarding votes on any proposition in advance of meetings at which the proposition will be considered by the school board.

c. School board members shall refer all complaints to the proper school district administrators and shall not undertake independent investigation.

3. School board members shall treat all members of the public courteously and with respect and shall exercise reasonable courtesy in dealing with fellow school board members, school district administrators and district staff.

4. School board members shall not compromise the integrity of the school board by accepting, giving or soliciting any gratuity which could be reasonably interpreted as capable of influencing official acts or judgments.

5. School board members shall observe the confidentiality of information available to them due to their status as school board members, and shall not knowingly violate any legal restrictions for the release or dissemination of school district information.

IV. Procedures For Administering Policy 

A. Allegations of violations of this policy may be received from internal or external sources. In an instance where an allegation is made that could serve as the basis for the imposition of sanctions against an individual school board member under this policy, the school board will:

1. Advise the school board member of the allegation in writing within a reasonable period of time.

2. If the allegation cannot be readily resolved, the school board will conduct an investigation of the allegation to determine whether the individual school board member has violated this policy.

3. Allow the individual school board member an opportunity to be heard by the school board in defense of the allegation and to present any relevant information regarding the allegation.

4. Specify the expected conduct or modification of conduct to be required from the individual school board member.

B. The determination whether a violation of this policy has occurred, and whether sanctions are to be imposed, shall be made by the school board.

C. The school board retains the right to remove a school board member as appropriate, subject to relevant governing law.

V. Sanctions 

A. The form of sanctions imposed on an individual school board member for violation(s) of this policy may vary depending upon factors such as the nature of the violation, whether the violation was intentional, knowing and/or willful, and whether the individual school board member has been the subject of prior sanctions of the same or a different nature. The forms of sanctions that may be imposed by the school board include, but are not limited to:

1. A warning of the individual school board member by the school board;

2. Public censure of the individual school board member by the school board;

3. A resolution disavowing the inappropriate behavior by the individual school board member;

4. Imposition of a one-time reduction in the individual school board member’s compensation in an amount determined by the school board; and

5. Removal of the individual school board member from the school board in accordance with Minnesota law.

B. Other sanctions, including any combination of the forms described above, may be imposed if, in the judgment of the school board, another sanction would better accomplish the school board’s objective of stopping or correcting the offending conduct.

Legal References:
Minn. Stat. § 123B.02, Subd. 1 (School District Powers)
Minn. Stat. § 123B.09 (School Board Powers)

Cross References:
MSBA Service Manual, Chapter 1, School Board Member Code of Ethics