School board committees are established to provide support for some of the work of the board to make it more manageable. Committees benefit the school board in accomplishing work and achieving goals for the district.
The initial meeting for a committee establishes essential functions and logistics for the committee that impacts the work they perform and how that work is completed. The committee first meeting agenda equips committee members in tackling these initial tasks.
The varying committees supervised by the school board serve specific purposes to meet certain goals and to provide support to the full school board through the work they accomplish.
- Some school boards may have an “Athletic Committee” that may complete tasks related to the school district’s athletic programs and make recommendations to the full school board for cuts, additions, or other changes related to those programs.
- A board’s “Finance Committee” would potentially review and monitor concerns related to the school district’s budget. This committee may recommend adjustments to the school district’s budget if there is a deficit or other issue. The “Finance Committee” may even recommend cost effective projects and other initiatives for the consideration of the full school board.
- The district’s “Technology Committee” might evaluate and assess the technology plans, policies, and procedures. This committee may develop or update policies related to technology and cybersecurity practices for the district to keep them current and mitigate potential risks.
School districts may have a variety of committees related to transportation, policy and planning, education, communications, budgeting, and other areas where the district and board may need additional support and insight. It is crucial that committees understand that while the committee works to support the work of the school board, these committees do not act for the board.
School board committees serve a significant purpose, sometimes providing reports at school board meetings and making recommendations to the full board. The foundation of a committee meeting is the agenda, so it is imperative that committees take the time to ensure that the committee first meeting agenda addresses the topics vital to the formation and purpose of the committee.
It is important to note that all school board committee meetings are subject to the same regulations as other school board meetings, based upon the state in which the board resides. All school board committees must follow the requirements of the state sunshine laws pertaining to school board meetings.
Example Agenda for a Committee’s First Meeting
The committee’s first meeting agenda is structured differently than other committee meeting agendas, addressing business essential to the framework and purpose of the committee.
- Name of the school district.
- Name of the committee that is meeting.
- Date, time, and location of the meeting.
- Call to order.
- When the meeting is ready to begin (committee members are present and a quorum is met) then the meeting will be opened (if a Chairperson is assigned or designated, they will be the individual to officially open the meeting).
- This includes a general welcome to attendees and then a roll call of committee members. It is important to identify the committee members that are in attendance in the meeting minutes.
- This is helpful for the public to get to know the committee members that may not necessarily be members of the school board.
- Appointment of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Secretary/Recorder.
- These individuals are vital to the function of the committee, so it is important that these roles are assigned at this initial meeting (if they have not been appointed already).
- Review of policies and procedures related to the function of the committee.
- Leveraging the right technology, policy manuals, training materials, and guides can be easily accessible by any board or committee members for review.
- Review the mission statement of the committee.
- Discussion on the purpose of the committee, short- and long-term goals, and any future activities.
- This provides clarity and cohesiveness for committee member and the school board.
- Establish the meeting schedule for the year.
- It may be best to begin with monthly meetings for the first few months, then to move to quarterly meetings for the committee. However, this is all dependent upon the work being performed by the committee.
- Open discussion or public participation.
- This is an opportunity for members of the community to provide insight into any issues or concerns relevant to the work conducted by the committee.
- Time of adjournment.
- In this example of an agenda for a school board committee meeting, adjourning the meeting can cover a few different items or tasks. The committee chair may remind others of the next meeting, thank participants for their time and work, review any assigned tasks or business, and then adjourn the meeting.
The committee first meeting agenda will not be the same format that will be used in future committee meetings. Once your school board committee creates an agenda that works for and meets the needs of the committee meetings, the agenda template can be continuously used through a board portal, like Community by Diligent, to simplify the agenda creation process.
Community allows for documents and materials related to the agenda to be uploaded and shared with participants. Committee members and the public can easily access these documents from any device with internet access, anytime and anywhere.
Leveraging meeting management software, like Community, can support committees as they work to maintain compliance with the state’s sunshine laws. Community’s board portal makes the process of recording, maintaining, and publishing meeting minutes seamless, promoting trust and transparency.
School board committees are established to provide support for the full board, which gives the board an opportunity to analyze and assess certain topics or issues in greater detail. It is imperative for school board committees to utilize an effective meeting agenda to work efficiently and effectively, especially for the first initial meeting for the committee. The committee first meeting agenda can help establish and foster a culture that promotes efficiency and focus on the purpose and goals of the committee.