After learning what site councils were all about Monday, Lawrence school board members pledged to meet with the councils more frequently than once a year.
Building principals and the site council heads helped board members understand the function and operation of site councils during a two-hour study session, the first since the councils formed. The board took no formal action.
What the board discovered was that site councils have varying membership numbers, meeting frequencies and missions.
- Membership ranges from about 15 to 23 people, including teachers, PTA or PTO members, parents and neighborhood association members.
- Councils meet between three times a year and twice a month.
- The councils have set missions from focusing exclusively on Quality Performance Accreditation goals to discussing a wide range of issues.
Although equity is at issue, at least one board member was glad that the site councils had varying modes of operation.
"We can't sit up here and tell them what their site council should look like," board member Harriet Shaffer said.
The study session was timely because of recent discussions about whether sites should make decisions such as early dismissal. During the session, the board decided to separate issues of site-based decision making from site councils. By state law, site councils are advisory by nature.
Most of the six councils who reported said they focused on writing school profiles and identifying goals for QPA.
"While the role of site councils started as a result of legislation that grew out of QPA, there is nothing in our policy that limits this to QPA," Supt. Al Azinger said.