The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) defines an effective school board policy manual as one containing written policies that:
- Articulate the community's expectations for the school district.
- Authorize the superintendent and staff to pursue those expectations.
- Describe the authority of the superintendent and staff.
- Provide information and guidance for students, parents and community.
- Ensure legal compliance.
- Establish school board processes.
The Board of Education, like school boards across the state and around the country, is responsible for the creation, adoption and oversight of the policies that guide the district. Through these policies, the board clarifies the district’s purpose, delegates authority, designates the district’s ends and defines operating parameters.
The board established a policy review team to lead its effort to keep the district’s policies updated in accordance with state and federal law, as well as suggest ways to strengthen them to better meet the needs of the people served by our schools. This team advises the board on all issues related to policy development, review and revision. It also drafts new policies or recommends revisions to existing policies based on requests from the board, changes to the law, input provided by the district’s stakeholders, or the changing needs and philosophies of the district. These drafts and recommended revisions are presented to the board for a first reading and adoption during the open session of board meetings. However, the first reading and adoption never take place at the same meeting.
The district’s current policy manual was developed with assistance from IASB’s Policy Reference Education Subscription Service, which currently works with more than 93 percent of the school districts in Illinois. It features eight sections broken down into the following categories/areas of emphasis:
- School District Organization
- Board of Education
- General School Administration
- Operational Services
- Community Relations