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Catholic School Parent Council Bylaws

Purpose

This document is compiled to fulfill the mandate provided to C.S.A.C. by the Ministry of education as documented in SCHOOL COUNCILS: A GUIDE FOR MEMBERS, 2001

School councils must develop certain bylaws to provide them with direction for the operation of council business and to help the council work effectively. The development of operating bylaws should begin as soon as possible after a council meets for the first time. At a minimum, the regulation requires councils to develop bylaws to address the following areas:

Election procedures
Filling vacancies
Conflict of interest
Conflict resolution procedures
Bylaws governing other areas of operation may also be developed.

Once bylaws have been developed, your school council may want to review them from time to time, although they do not need to be rewritten each year. Conflict resolution bylaws must be established in accordance with any applicable policies established by the board."

School councils play a vital role in the education system in Ontario. They provide a forum through which parents and other members of school communities can contribute to improving student achievement and school performance.

In 2000-2001, the Ontario government took significant steps to ensure that parents, through their school councils, would have greater influence in their children???s education. New regulations were created that confirm the advisory role of school councils and clearly state that their purpose is to improve student achievement and enhance the accountability of the education system to parents.

School councils are now able to make recommendations to their principals and school boards on any matter. Principals and school boards, in turn, must consult with school councils on a variety of matters that affect student learning. They must also consider recommendations made by school councils and report back to the councils on how they plan to act on their advice."

Change Log

Version
Date
Summary
Version 1.0
June, 2002
Initial Creation
Version 2.0
Feb 12, 2003
Added Budget and Fund Distribution Section
Version 3.0
June 7, 2004
Added bylaw adjustment section and changes to calendar
Removed involvement in High School Open House
Version 4.0
May 17, 2005
Refinement of calendar to streamline the focus on the Local Action Plan
Version 5.0
Nov 22, 2005
Adjusted bylaws to reflect that the school calendar should be started in May and reviewed as the annual general meeting in June.
The final is presented at the first CSPC meeting with highlights of any deviations from normal planning.


Council Code of Ethics

A member shall consider the best interests of all students.
A member shall endeavor at all times to be mindful of the views of the community which he or she is representing through his or her position on council.
A member will be mindful of the need to welcome and accommodate parents and members of the community to council and subcommittee meetings.
A member shall be guided by the schools and the school boards mission statements.
A member shall act within the limits of the roles and responsibilities of a school council as identified by the school???s operating guidelines, the school board, and the Ontario Ministry of Education.
A member shall become familiar with the school???s policies and operating practices and act in accordance with them.
A member shall maintain the highest standards of integrity.
A member shall recognize and respect the personal integrity of each member of the school community.
A member shall treat all other members with respect and allow for diverse opinions to be shared without interruption.
A member shall encourage a positive environment in which individual contributions are encouraged and valued.
A member shall acknowledge democratic principles and accept the consensus of the council.
A member shall respect the confidential nature of some school business and respect limitations this may place on the operation of the school council.
A member shall limit discussions at school council meetings to matters of concern to the school community as a whole.
A member shall use established communication channels when questions or concerns arise.
A member shall declare any conflict of interest.
A member shall not accept any payment or benefit financially through school council involvement. General Expectations regarding meetings.

Election Procedures

The Parent Committee shall convene a nomination committee in May to help gather nominations and encourage membership. This group will also assist in the running of the election if one is deemed necessary. *

Nomination forms will be sent out and collected by the Nomination Committee during April and May for the next year???s council. Nomination forms will also be sent out the first day of class in September.

Each parent /guardian of a student enrolled in the school shall be entitled to one vote for each vacant parent/guardian membership position on the council.

Each parent/guardian seeking election must be nominated or self-nominated in writing, must have a child registered at the school and must declare if he or she is employed by the school board.

Elections shall occur on the fifteenth day following the first day of class.

The election committee shall;
Provide nomination forms;
Ensure that the school community is notified of election procedures and election date and time, at least fourteen days in advance of the election;
Conduct the elections by secret ballot
Count the ballots
Help the principal notify all candidates of the results;
Keep all results and related information confidential.

All those standing for election will be notified of the results before they are published.

The school council shall help the principal ensure that the names of new members are publicized to the school community within three days of the election.

At the first meeting of the new school council at the beginning of the year, the council shall set dates, times and locations for its meetings throughout the year.

At the first meeting of the new school council at the beginning of the year, the council shall elect an executive ??? a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. However, Council may choose to have two Co-chairs. The Executive Officers shall be elected annually by the elected members of the Council. (Article 7 ??? Executive Officers, C.S.A.C. Handbook, Section II, pg. 7. It is recommended that the Chair have at least one year???s experience on council.

*An election will be deemed necessary if C.S.A.C. nominations exceed 8% of the total number of families in the school.

Filling Vacancies
If any school council positions become vacant because of resignation, inability of a member to fulfil his or her roles and responsibilities, or other cause, the remaining members shall constitute the school council, unless the parent/guardian majority is not maintained. If the majority of parents on the council are not maintained, the council shall instruct its nominating committee to send home nomination forms for the vacant positions for parents on the council and to hold an election for the purpose of filling the vacancy. Vacant positions, other than for parent representatives, may be filled by appointment of the council for the remaining term of office, from among members of the school community who meet the requirements set for the vacant positions.

Conflict of Interest
Each council member shall avoid situations that could result in an inconsistency between the overall goals and vision of the school council and a personal or vested interest, that arise in connection with his or her duties as a council member.
Should an issue or agenda item arise during a council meeting where a council member is in a conflict of interest situation he or she shall declare conflict of interest immediately and decline from the discussion and resolution.

Conflict Resolution Procedures
Council members are elected to serve the school community and will demonstrate respect for their colleagues on council and any and all guests in attendance at all times.

If a council member or members become disruptive during a meeting, the chair shall ask for order.

If all efforts to restore order fail or the unbecoming behaviour continues, the chair may direct the individual council member(s) to leave the meeting, citing the reasons for the request.

The removal of a member for one meeting does not prevent the council member from participating in future meetings of the council.

The incident shall be recorded and submitted to the Superintendent of Schools within one week of the meeting.

When the chair has requested the removal of a member(s) from a meeting the chair shall request that the disputing members of council participate in a special meeting, the purpose of which will be to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute. Such a meeting may be a private meeting and shall not be construed as a meeting of the council.

The chair may request the intervention of an independent third party to assist in achieving a resolution to the dispute.
Any resolution reached at the meeting to resolve the conflict shall be signed and respected in full by all parties in the dispute and read into the minutes of the next meeting by the council chair.
Conflicts between members and/or administration, which occur outside the context of meetings, are the sole responsibility of the parties involved.

The Number and Scheduling of Meetings
CSPC meetings are scheduled monthly.. These meetings cover topics as listed below:

Meetings are held on Weeknights and generally run from 7:30-9:30 PM in the School Library. Location and time can be adjusted to accommodate the needs of the newly elected CSPC each year.

A tentative meeting schedule is to be published by the first CSPC meeting following elections.

The Principal ensures permits are booked at the outset of the academic year immediately following the establishment of planned meeting dates.

Council Executive meets two or three days in advance of each meeting to review submissions to the agenda.

Committee chairs notify the secretary of submissions related to their area of responsibility prior to that executive meeting.

Members of the community interested in making submissions notify a member of council who then directs them to the appropriate committee for their area of interest/concern.

Community members contacting the school office should be asked to leave their name and number so that the appropriate member of council can contact them to facilitate their involvement.

Preparation and Parent Information Sessions
Meetings are held approximately once a month with the exception of December and March. Where a light agenda exists for CSPC Meetings, this meeting may be scheduled on the same evening as a CSPC meeting and immediately following it. Permits for all Committee meetings are reserved in the beginning of the school year, once the executive members have been established. Parent members of C.S.A.C. will attend all committee meetings. The Principal, Teacher representatives and Student Council Representatives are not required at committee meetings. CSPC topics can be covered at multiple Preparation and Parent Information Sessions. Prior to the CSPC item being covered, these sessions can aid in preparing the contents of the CSPC presentation. Following the CSPC presentation, these sessions will debrief the information presented and decide if further CSPC action is required.

Committee Business
A parent or parents can come together to ask that an issue be considered by CSPC. Where further exploration of the issue is required, a committee is established at the direction of CSPC.
The committee will be assigned a committee chair from the active members of CSPC.
Committee business can be conducted outside of both the CSPC meeting and the Preparation and Parent Information Sessions.
One (1) CSPC member must exist on each established committee. The CSPC member or the committee chair will report back to CSPC for approval on position statements or direction setting. Feedback from the parent community can be made through a presentation at a Preparation and Parent Information Session.

The Number of Parent Members and Quorum
 
The council will consist of not less than 8% of total number of families in the school
A simple majority constitutes a quorum.

Voting, Consultation with School Community
One of the council???s main purposes is to share information with parents and the community and to seek their ideas and views about matters under consideration by the council. When and how this happens depends on the issues before the council. The impact of issues before council will vary from having no direct or indirect impact on the students in the school to affecting all students in the school. The issue before the council will determine when it is appropriate to consult with parents and the community.