Board Policy 09: Board Governance
Educating Together: A Handbook for Trustees, School Boards and Communities OPSBA 2006; Good Governance: A Guide for Trustees, School Boards, Directors of Education and Communities OESC 2018; Robert’s Rules of Order; Board Policy 10 Committees of the Board; Board Policy 4 Delegation of Authority; Board Policy 11 Board Representatives; Board 12 Policy Making; AP 515 Travel and Expense Reimbursement; Form 515 Travel and Expense Claims; AP 518 Hospitality
Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) is a board of education established under the Education Act, with power to perform all the duties conferred or imposed upon a public school board by that or any other Act of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario. It shall operate in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act, other applicable legislation, the pertinent regulations of the Ministry of Education, and AMDSB Policies.
Avon Maitland District School Board believes that its ability to discharge its obligations in an efficient and effective manner is dependent upon the development and implementation of a sound organizational design. An outline of the governance structure of the Avon Maitland District School Board can be found in Board Policy 10 Committees of the Board (Appendix 1).
In order to discharge its responsibilities to the electorate of the district, the board shall hold regular meetings. The board has adopted by-laws and policies so that the business of the board can be conducted in an orderly and efficient manner. Adherence to board by-laws and policies is expected from all board members.
The board believes that a fundamental obligation is to preserve, if not enhance, trust in public education generally, and in the affairs of Avon Maitland District School Board operations in particular. Consistent with its objective to encourage the general public to contribute to the educational process, board meetings will be open to the public. The board believes its affairs should be conducted in public to the greatest extent possible.
However, the board also acknowledges that there are times when the public interest is best served by private discussion of specific issues during closed sessions. A meeting of a committee of the board, including a committee of the whole board, may be closed to the public when certain matters, as outlined in legislation, are discussed. (Education Act: Section 207 (2))
No amendments, alteration or addition to the Board Policy 9 Board Governance or to any policy of the board shall be made unless due notice thereof in writing, setting forth the proposed amendment, alteration or addition, has been given.
Policies shall be reviewed in a minimum of one separate meeting of the board before the notice of motion for amendment can be made.
Minor by-law and policy amendments (amendments that do not change the content or intent of the by-law or policy) and amendments to Appendices can be made within one board meeting provided all board members have received a copy of the suggested amendment(s) a minimum of 48 hours prior to the meeting.
Notwithstanding, amendments to a by-law or policy are not retroactive except by unanimous consent of the whole board. Example: if a breach of the Code of Conduct has been identified, the process will unfold using the policies and by-laws in force at the time of the breach.
A two-thirds majority of all board members present must vote in favour to effect the change. [Section 5.3.3 (c)]
1.3 The procedure at the first meeting of the board on or after November 15, including the year of a newly elected board, shall be as follows:
1.6 Election of the Chair of the Board shall be by secret ballot and on all occasions when the result of a vote is declared, there shall be no disclosure from the scrutineers of the count. The election procedure is as follows:
1.6.2 Secret Ballot Vote if Attending by Electronic Means: A board member attending the meeting by electronic means shall be allowed to participate in the secret ballot for election of the Chair by privately advising each of the scrutineers whether they are willing to stand for the position and, subsequent to the nomination process, of their votes, and the scrutineers shall include these choices in the tallies.
1.6.3 Nominations shall be by secret ballot wherein each trustee can nominate only themselves and, in so doing, declare their willingness to stand for the position. To maintain secrecy, all trustees must submit a nomination ballot. However, if unwilling to stand, they should either leave the paper ballot blank or, if attending electronically, to ensure their wishes are clear, email the scrutineers with the statement that they are declining to stand.
1.6.4 The Secretary shall confirm the nominations by declaring the names of those willing to stand in alphabetical order. Prior to the vote, those standing for election will be allowed up to two minutes to speak.
1.6.6 Should no member receive a clear majority of the votes cast, the name of the member receiving the smallest number of votes shall be dropped. In the event that the balloting results in a tie vote between the members receiving the smallest number of votes, these members shall draw lots to decide whose name shall be dropped from the slate of nominees. The board shall proceed to vote anew and so continue until one member receives a clear majority of the votes cast and such member shall be declared elected.
1.6.7 The Secretary shall announce the result of the ballot by declaring the name of the member who has received a clear majority of the votes cast.
Election of Vice-Chair
1.7 Election of the Vice-Chair of the Board shall be as in Section 1.6 above except that the role of the Secretary as defined above will be assumed by the Chair. The Vice-Chair of the Board shall be Chair of the committee of the whole, closed session board.
Election of Delegate to OPSBA
1.8 Election of a member to serve as voting delegate to and Director of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) shall be as in Section 1.6 except that the role of the Secretary as defined above will be assumed by the Chair.
1.8.2 When there is a school board/municipal election in the fall of the year, the incumbent OPSBA delegate shall serve until November 14 in that year only (a period of 16 months). The election for the OPSBA delegate shall then be held at the Inaugural Meeting of the new board in November. Additionally, there will be no election in May in the year following a school board/municipal election. In this case the OPSBA delegate elected at the Inaugural Meeting will hold the position until July 15th of the following year (for a period of 20 months).
Election of Alternate Delegate to OPSBA
1.9 Election of a member to serve as alternate voting delegate to and alternate Director of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) shall be as in Section 1.8 above. The board’s alternate delegate serves in place of the delegate when the delegate is unable to perform their duties.
will attend to act as the voting delegate.
Election to Fill a Vacancy at Any Other Time
1.10 Should any of the positions in Sections 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 or 1.9 above become vacant outside of the normal election times, an election will be held for vacant position(s) only.
Destruction of Ballots
1.11 Upon completion of elections for all offices as set out in Sections 1.6 through 1.10 above, the board, by motion, shall direct that all ballots be destroyed.
2. Meetings of the Board
Avon Maitland District School Board shall generally meet as a board in public and closed session as permitted by the Education Act. Unless indicated otherwise, the use of the term “meetings of the board” throughout these by-laws refers to meetings of the board and meetings of a committee of the board, including a committee of the whole board (CoW).
2.1 Regular Meetings
The regular meetings of the board shall be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month of the school year except there is no meeting during the December break, and no regular meetings on the second Tuesday in January and March, unless determined otherwise by motion or poll. Therefore, there will be only one regular meeting in the months of December, January, and March. The regular meeting times should be consistent and shall be set by the sitting board. One-time variance from the regular schedule will be determined by board motion and posted publicly as soon as possible thereafter.
Summer meetings of the board (i.e., in July and August) will be held on an “as required” basis at the call of the Chair. Once called, the date and time of a public meeting shall be posted on the website.
The board shall not remain in session later than 10:30 p.m. unless determined by a majority vote of the members present, and no meeting shall be extended beyond 11:00 p.m. unless by unanimous approval of the members present every 30 minutes thereafter.
2.1.3 Closed Meetings
As set out in Section 207 (2) of the Education Act, a meeting of a committee of a board, including a committee of the whole board, may be closed to the public when the subject under consideration involves:
126.96.36.199 The disclosure of intimate, personal or financial information in respect of a member of the board or committee, an employee or prospective employee of the board or a pupil or their parent or guardian;
188.8.131.52 The acquisition or disposal of a school site;
184.108.40.206 Decisions in respect of negotiations with employees of the board; or
220.127.116.11 Litigation affecting the board.
Decisions may be reached in a closed meeting. However, any actions evolving from the decisions must be enacted at the regular meeting of the board. Following discussion, board members rise from the closed session and report to the board on any recommendations agreed upon. If the recommendations are to become a resolution of the board, there will be a motion in public session to adopt the recommendation from the closed session.
2.2 Notice of Board Meetings
2.2.2 The Closed session agenda shall be transmitted as a separate document at least 48 hours before the time of the meeting and all confidential documents will be placed in a secure location, currently Google Drive, that is accessible to trustees only. Decision items, proposed agenda amendments, and associated documents applicable to trustees-only must be posted in this location as soon as possible before the meeting. Notification of changes to the content on the site will be emailed to trustees automatically.
2.2.3 Copies of reports to be presented to any meeting of the board shall be delivered with the notice of such meeting or as soon as possible thereafter. The consideration of reports sent at a later date and items of new business arising at the meeting may be included at that meeting of the board within the motion to approve the (amended) agenda.
2.3 Special Board Meetings
2.3.2 A special meeting of the board shall be called by the Chair within 48 hours on a written request signed by three members or as required within other policies or regulation. The express purpose of such meeting shall be stated and no business shall be considered other than that stated in the notice unless all members of the board are present and unanimously consent thereto. Should the Chair fail to call the meeting within 48 hours, it shall be the duty of the Secretary to do so. Notice of such special meeting shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the time of such meeting.
2.4 Polling the Board
18.104.22.168 The Secretary of the Board (or designate) delivers the necessary background information to board members at least 24 hours in advance so that they have the opportunity to deliberate;
22.214.171.124 Provided that a quorum has voted and that an attempt has been made to contact all board members, the Secretary of the Board carries out the wishes of the majority.
126.96.36.199 Where it has not been possible to contact a quorum, the Chair, or in the Chair’s absence or unavailability, the Vice-Chair shall make the decision based on their understanding of the potential opinions of the missing members.
188.8.131.52 In the absence of both the Chair and the Vice-Chair, and when it has not been possible to contact a quorum, the Secretary of the Board shall make the decision based on their understanding of the potential opinions of the missing members and it shall be binding upon the board.
184.108.40.206 Notice, in the form of minutes or notes of said poll, will be included with the next agenda of the board and will be approved by the board in the same fashion as the board approves minutes of a previous meeting.
3. Attendance at Meetings
3.2 Absence from a Meeting
Members of the board shall advise the office of the Secretary of the Board as soon as possible if they will be absent from a meeting. If a quorum is not present, the meeting may be cancelled, but presentations and delegations may be heard.
3.3 Definition of meeting locations for boards and requirements for members’ attendance is provided in the Education Act, Sections 208.1 (1) and (2); Section 228 (1); Section 229(1) and (2); Ontario Regulation 463/97 and in Section 6 of Board Policy 9 Board Governance By-Laws. Provision for attendance at regular meetings of the board is by physical presence in the meeting room of the board or by participating in a meeting through electronic means. A member of Avon Maitland District School Board must be physically present in the meeting room of the board for at least three regular meetings in each 12-month period beginning November 15th and must not be absent, without being authorized by regulation or resolution entered in the minutes, from three consecutive regular meetings of the board.
3.4 Prolonged Absence
If a member of the board misses three consecutive regular meetings of the board, the member is deemed to have vacated the seat on the board unless the member’s absence has been authorized by board resolution entered in the minutes. A member wishing to request such authorization should contact the office of the Secretary of the Board to arrange to have the request placed on a future board agenda for consideration by the board. (Education Act 220 (3))
3.5 Failing to Fulfill Obligations
If a member of the board fails to fulfill obligations, refer to Board Policy 5 Board Members’ Code of Conduct.
3.6 Attendance Report
A board member attendance report shall be prepared annually. This report shall summarize the attendance of each board member at the board meetings held during the previous school year.
A quorum of the board shall be a majority of all members and determined by the number of seats on the board. Should there be no quorum present thirty minutes after the time appointed for the meeting, the Secretary shall cause to be recorded the names of those members present, and the Chair shall set the time and place of the next meeting. Staff presentations and delegations may be heard. In the event of quorum being lost during a meeting, no further business can legally be transacted, and it shall be the responsibility of the presiding Chair and the Secretary to note the lack of a quorum and to have the fact recorded in the minutes. Should quorum not be reached and there are time-sensitive decisions pending, the Chair, in consultation with the Director and Vice Chair shall determine whether to call a Special Meeting or use the process of poll voting. (Section 2.4 above)
4. Order of Business
The order of business (agenda) of all regular and special board meetings is prepared by the Secretary of the Board. For “Notice of Board Meetings” see 2.2. For the suggested order of business for the second and fourth Tuesday of the month Board meetings, see Appendices 1 and 2.
5. Rules of Order
In conformity with the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and Policy 5: Board Members Code of Conduct:
- Where a member has any significant pecuniary or other conflict of interest, direct or indirect, in any matter, the member must disclose the general nature of interest before any consideration of the matter. The member must not take part in any consideration or discussion of, or vote on any question in respect to the matter, and must not attempt in any way before, during or after the meeting to influence the voting.
- The member must leave the meeting during the time the matter is under discussion. Note: “Meeting” is defined to include “any regular, special, committee or other meeting” of the board.
If absent from a meeting, members of the board must disclose their interest at the first meeting attended after such meeting.
5.1.2 Record in Minutes
Declarations of pecuniary or conflict of interest and the general nature thereof must be recorded in the minutes of the public meetings. Every declaration of interest made in private meetings, but not the general nature of the interest, must be recorded in the minutes of the next public meeting.
Requests of delegations to appear before the board or one of its committees must be in writing and received by the Secretary by 4:30 p.m. on the business day preceding the board or committee meeting, unless by motion of a majority of the members present the board or committee determines it will hear the delegation. The Chair of the Board may, following consultation with the board, direct that a delegation requesting a hearing before the board be heard instead by an appropriate committee of the board. A request must state the reason for the delegation to appear or the delegation will not be heard. Delegations shall submit their material in writing, prior to the presentation, to the Secretary.
5.2.2 Spokesperson and Time Allocation
The delegation shall name a spokesperson(s). The delegation shall be allowed up to ten minutes to address the board or the committee on its first appearance on an issue, and up to five minutes for subsequent appearances, subject to subsection 5.2.4 (c). There shall be a maximum of six delegations permitted at a regular meeting.
5.2.3 Hearing the Delegation
- The Secretary shall inform the delegation of the date of the meeting and the approximate time when the presentation will be heard. At the time of notification, delegations will be informed of the time available for the presentation. They will also be informed that there may be no response to the presentation at the meeting, and that there may be questions of clarification asked of them by members of the board at the end of the presentation. Delegations will also be informed that the purpose of a delegation is to allow the presentation to be heard, and not to debate the issue at the time of presentation. They will further be advised that, at the conclusion of the presentation, the concern raised will either be referred to the appropriate committee, referred to a future board meeting, or handled by letter following the board meeting, as determined by the Chair. Delegations will be offered a copy of the Delegations section of Board Policy 9 Board Governance By-Laws before the meeting at which they are to appear.
- Delegations appearing before the board will be introduced by the Chair who shall announce the board's policy regarding delegations.
- The Chair shall announce how much time is available to the delegation and shall rule on the acceptability of the presentation and adherence to the time limit. The Chair may limit or conclude a presentation that deviates materially from the announced topic of the presentation or essentially repeats a previous presentation to the incumbent board or committee. The spokesperson(s) for a delegation must refrain from the use of abusive, profane or derogatory language at all times, and the Chair may expel or exclude from any meeting any person(s) who engages in this or any other form of improper conduct.
- Following the presentation, the Chair shall acknowledge the presentation and ask the members of the board if there are any points they wish clarified. At no time during the meeting will members of the board or staff enter into discussion with any member of the delegation except to request clarification of a point made in the presentation.
- As soon as the Chair is satisfied that all points have been clarified, the Chair shall inform the delegation that the board will take the presentation under consideration during “New Business”.
- The Chair shall request a written copy of the remarks if not previously submitted. If not stated, the Chair shall ask the delegation what board action is being requested.
- The Board shall consider next steps in New Business, and the matter may then be considered by the board in public session or in closed session as required or permitted by Board Policy 9 Board Governance By-Laws or the Education Act, or as otherwise directed by motion of the board.
- Within 30 days, the Secretary shall inform the delegation of the disposition of its request, and include the date, time and place of any meeting of the board or a committee of the board where the subject matter was discussed. If the matter is referred to a committee whose meetings are open to the public, the Secretary shall inform the delegation in advance of the date and time of the meeting where the matter will be considered.
- In exceptional circumstances, the Chair, in consultation with the Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Board, has the right to limit the allowed time for a presentation by a delegation, or the number of delegations to be heard at a meeting of the board.
- However, the Chair must, within reason, provide an opportunity for all delegations wishing to speak on a topic to be received at subsequent regular meetings of the board (to a maximum of six delegations in total at a regular meeting, as stated in Section 5.2.2 above) or at one or more special meetings of the board to be called for that purpose. If the number of requests is believed to be unmanageable, the board will determine by board motion a fair and equitable process to select the delegations to be heard.
- Once the board has made a decision on a matter raised by a delegation or delegations, or determines that the matter has been sufficiently addressed, the board will not entertain a further delegation on substantially the same issue within the ensuing six-month period, unless the Board, by simple majority, is of the opinion that there is sufficient new information to warrant a review.
- The Chair shall preside at all meetings, or in the Chair’s absence, the Vice-Chair shall perform the duties of the Chair. In the absence of the Vice-Chair, or while the Vice-Chair is serving as Chair; the board shall choose a member to serve as Vice-Chair (Board Policy 8 Role of the Vice-Chair section 1(c)).
- In the absence of both the Chair and the Vice-Chair, the Secretary shall call the meeting to order, and call for a motion naming a member to act as Chair temporarily. The now acting Chair will then call for a motion to name an acting Vice-Chair.
- The Chair shall preserve order and decorum, and decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal to the board or clarification by the parliamentarian. A member may immediately appeal a decision of the Chair. The Chair may request the reason for the appeal and shall explain the reason for the decision.
- When called to decide a point of order, the Chair shall, if requested, state the reasoning applicable to the case. Appeals of the Chair’s ruling shall be decided without debate (unless the Chair invites discussion thereon) and shall be submitted in the following form: “Shall the decision of the Chair be sustained (upheld)?”
- Every member, prior to speaking to any question or motion, shall indicate to the Chair and wait to be recognized.
- When two or more members indicate their wish to speak at the same time, the Chair shall name the members who are to speak in order of recognition. The Chair may, at their discretion, allow one follow-up point outside of the order of the speakers list.
- No member shall interrupt another while speaking, unless to raise a point of order. Members raising a point of order shall be recognized by the Chair and shall confine themselves to the point of order or explanation.
- Any member may require the motion under discussion to be read for information at any time during the debate, provided that no such request shall be made so as to interrupt the member speaking to the question.
- After a motion has been moved and seconded and read by the Chair, it shall be deemed to be in possession of the board though it may be subsequently withdrawn at the request of both the mover and seconder. The Chair shall allow reasonable discussion prior to calling the vote. The member introducing the motion shall be given the opportunity to speak first, and have the privilege of replying immediately prior to calling the vote. (Notwithstanding, in order to allow for robust public consideration, there is no obligation on the mover or seconder to vote in the affirmative to the motion.)
- When the question under consideration contains two or more distinct propositions, upon request of any member, the Chair shall rule whether or not any particular proposition shall be considered and voted upon separately.
- No motion or amendment shall be debated unless the same be moved and seconded, except formal motions to adopt reports, to refer, to postpone, to lay on the table, to put the previous question, to file, to pay accounts or to adjourn.
- When a motion is under debate, the motions in order of precedence shall be:
- to adjourn; (decided without debate)
- to lay on the table; (decided without debate)
- to call the question; (decided without debate)
- to postpone; (decided without debate)
- to refer; (debatable only as to time and place)
- to amend.
- A motion to lay on the table may be reconsidered by the motion "to take from the table.”
- A motion to adjourn shall be in order, except when a member is speaking or a vote is being taken, or when the question has been called. A simple motion to adjourn shall not be open to amendment or debate, but a motion to adjourn to a certain time may be amended and debated. After a motion to adjourn has been defeated, a second motion to the same effect shall not be made until after some intermediate question(s) has (have) been disposed.
- The motion to call the question shall preclude all further amendment or debate, and shall be submitted by the Chair in this form: "Shall the question in debate be now called?" If adopted, the Chair shall at once proceed to put the main question and any amendments pending to the vote of the board. However, if the motion to call the question is defeated, the main question may then be debated and amended.
- A question having been postponed indefinitely shall not be taken up again at the same meeting.
- A motion to refer to a standing committee shall take precedence over a motion to refer to any other committee. A motion to refer to a committee shall take precedence over a motion to refer to the Director of Education.
- After a resolution is moved and seconded, a motion to amend may be made, and a motion to amend the amendment, but no further motion shall be made until these have been decided.
- All questions shall be put in the order in which they are moved except that the amendments shall be put before the main motion, the last amendment first, and so on.
- After the Chair has put the questions to a vote there shall be no further debate.
- Every member present, when a question is put, shall vote thereon unless excused by the board. A member who does not vote will be counted in the “opposed” votes and a tied vote is deemed to be a defeat of the motion. In a close vote, the Chair shall state the number in favour and opposed and ask if anyone has been misrepresented before declaring the result of the vote.
- A two-thirds majority of the board members attending the meeting is required:
- To close nominations;
- To rescind a previous action of the board;
- To refuse to consider a question;
- To suspend a rule of order;
- To overturn a ruling of the Chair;
- To censure or expel a member of the board (Section 2.3.1 in Board Policy 5 Board Members’ Code of Conduct and Section 3.5 in Board Policy 9 Board Governance); and
- To approve, amend, alter, add to, or rescind a by-law or policy of the board.
- A motion to re-consider must be moved by a member who voted on the prevailing side. After a vote has been taken on any question (except one of indefinite postponement) such vote may be reconsidered at any time during the same meeting. Alternatively, it may be reconsidered at any meeting held thereafter, provided the mover gives notice to that effect, in writing, to the Secretary of the Board for inclusion in the agenda.
- A motion to re-consider being once made and decided in the negative shall not again be entertained for three months.
- The rules of parliamentary debate as set out in these by-laws and in the attached Appendix 3 - Parliamentary Procedure Made Easy shall govern. In case of conflict between these two, the text of these by-laws shall govern. Where existing board governance by-laws do not apply to or remedy a specific situation, the applicable reference in Robert's Rules of Order shall apply.
- In exceptional circumstances as determined by a unanimous vote of the board, rules of the board may be suspended.
Student Trustee’s voice can be reported. When such a request is made, two votes must take place, the first including the Student Trustee(s’) vote(s) and the second without the Student Trustee(s’) vote(s). (Section 8.4.3 below)
5.5 Proxy Vote
There is no provision for proxy votes in the Education Act or Regulations made under the Education Act. Therefore, proxy votes shall not be permitted.
6. Electronic Means for the Holding of Meetings
6.2 Avon Maitland District School Board has, as required by Ontario Regulation 463/97 Electronic Meetings made under the Education Act, developed and implemented a policy providing for the use of electronic means for the holding of meetings of the board and meetings of a committee of the board, including a committee of the whole board.
6.2.2 Where appropriate, electronic means will be provided in the regular meeting place of the board and, if necessary, at one other location to allow the public to hear all the debate during the public session. This includes ensuring that the room is open, physically accessible and of a size to permit attendance by a reasonable number of members of the public. Furthermore, a link to the meeting shall be posted on the website at least 24 hours before the scheduled meeting
6.2.3 The following persons must be physically present in the board meeting room for any meeting of the board or committee of the whole:
- The Chair of the Board or designate
- At least one additional member of the board
- The Director of Education or designate
whole. 6.2.3 above):
- The Chair of the committee or designate
- The Director of Education or designate
Staff presentations may still be heard.
6.2.6 Given that the member must be able to be heard and hear all other participants in the meeting, audio teleconferencing and/or a conferencing software application, as appropriate, will be the electronic means used.
6.2.7 All provisions in the legislation with regard to closed session meetings and conflict of interest will apply for electronic meetings of the board or committees.
6.2.8 Any member of the board, Student Trustee spokesperson or member of the public who participates in a meeting by electronic means in accordance with this policy shall be required to act in accordance with the Board Policy 9 Board Governance By-Laws.
6.2.9 The Chair of the Board or Secretary of the Board shall have authority to refuse to provide a member with electronic means of participation in a meeting of the board where it is deemed impossible to ensure compliance with 6.2.8 above.
7. Officers of the Board
7.1.2 The Director of Education is also Secretary of the Board and the senior business official is also Treasurer of the Board and they hold these offices at the pleasure of the board.
7.1.3 The signing officers of the board shall be the Chair, the Vice-Chair in the absence of the Chair, the Director of Education and the senior business official and they hold this authority in accordance with the will of the Board.
7.2 Responsibilities of the Chair
7.3 Responsibilities of the Vice-Chair
7.4 Responsibilities of the OPSBA Representatives
7.5 Responsibilities of the Secretary of the Board
- keep a full and correct record of the proceedings of every meeting of the board;
- complete all board correspondence as required and directed by the board;
- transmit copies of reports as requested by the Ministry of Education;
- ensure that all legal and policy provisions are adhered to;
- carry out board decisions;
- create an organization which will ensure that board decisions are implemented effectively;
- act as administrative liaison to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board;
- be a signing officer of the board; and
- perform such other duties as may be required by the Education Act, by the Regulations or by the board.
- receive and account for all moneys of the board;
- be a signing officer of the board;
- act as administrative liaison to the Finance Committee and Audit Committee; and
- perform such other duties as may be required by the Education Act, by the Regulations, or by the board.
7.7.2 The Recording Secretary and Parliamentarian is responsible for:
- Notifying the Chair immediately when the board or any trustee is noticed to be acting against policy or regulation and a related point-of-order has not been raised;
- Maintaining an accurate record of board members' attendance at board meetings;
- Ensuring that each motion is properly moved and seconded and so advising the Chair when such is not the case;
- Recording the content of each motion and the result of any vote thereon;
- Preparing the minutes of each board meeting;
- Obtaining the signature of the Chair on the official copy of board meeting minutes and the signature of the Vice-Chair for Closed session minutes;
- Amending the official copy of board meeting minutes when so directed by the board; and
- Safekeeping of official minutes of board meetings.
This policy establishes means by which students may be meaningfully involved in board governance matters in compliance with the Education Act, Section 55 Student Trustees, Section 6 of the Education Statute Law Amendment Act (Student Performance), and Ontario Regulation 7/07 Student Trustees. This policy also realizes the board’s desire to involve its students in understanding the issues and operation of public education in the board. It is the policy of Avon Maitland District School Board to establish a Student Senate and a mechanism for selecting pupil representation on the board.
8.1 Selection of Student Senators and Student Trustees
8.1.2 The term of office for Student Senator starts on August 1 of the year in which they are elected and ends on the following July 31. Students are encouraged to serve for two terms.
8.1.3 Student Senators shall be fulltime (minimum of six credits) senior students (Grade 11 or 12) in the year(s) that they serve on the Student Senate. Student Senators must commit a significant amount of time and effort to the position. Student Senators, whenever possible, are expected to attend all meetings of the senate and assigned committees.
8.1.4 The Student Senators will hold an election before April 30 of each year to determine the two Student Trustees for the following term of the Student Senate. The election will be by secret ballot.
8.1.5 Student Trustees are, whenever possible, expected to attend all evening meetings of the board and, if applicable, assigned committees.
8.1.7 If a vacancy for the position of Student Trustee occurs during the year, it shall be filled by a by-election.
8.1.8 The board shall provide the Ministry with the names of the Student Trustees not later than 30 days after the date of the election or by-election.
8.2 Avon Maitland District School Board Student Senate
- The purpose of the Student Senate is to advise the board on matters relating to public education within Avon Maitland District School Board.
- The committee may propose refinements to this mandate for board approval.
- The committee will review this policy in the spring of each year.
- Membership and Terms of Reference:
- There shall be an advisory committee to the board entitled Avon Maitland District School Board Student Senate with the following membership:
- Up to two (2) students from each secondary school, excluding AMDEC, to be known as Student Senators;
- One (1) school administrator (principal or vice-principal); and
- Director of Education or designate.
- Two (2) board trustees will be assigned as ex-officio, non-voting members to act in an advisory capacity. (One member and one alternate).
- A quorum exists if six Student Senators, 50% of the secondary schools who have senate representation in a given year, and one board member or administrator or Director’s designate are present.
- All student members are encouraged to participate on other board committees.
- If a Student Senator misses three meetings, the principal advisor or administrative liaison may contact the Student Senator's school and recommend to the school officials that a replacement be considered in compliance with the respective school's constitution.
- A budget for the operation of this committee shall be established annually in the approved expenditure budget for the district and should include costs associated with a chaperone for conferences, if applicable.
- Section 10 (Board Member Expenses) of Board Policy 9 Board Governance By-Laws will apply for travel and out-of-pocket expenses for Student Senators to fulfil their functions at board and committee meetings.
- There shall be an advisory committee to the board entitled Avon Maitland District School Board Student Senate with the following membership:
- The newly elected group shall meet prior to the end of the school year for in-service training and to define its own internal structure.
- The Student Senate shall define its own internal structure which shall include:
- Establishing a process for selecting a Chair and other officers if required;
- Establishing annually a meeting schedule which shall include dates coinciding with business board meetings (4th Tuesday of the month) and, whenever possible, with time allocated to attend the staff presentation; and
- Establishing criteria for communicating information to their student councils and to the students at their schools and, where appropriate, feeder schools, on topics discussed by the committee.
- Meetings with Trustees and Attending Board Meetings:
- Student Senators and Student Trustees of the board will usually meet monthly to discuss relevant issues. (Policy 10, section 8.3.4)
- Upon request, on a meeting-to-meeting basis, a table will be designated for Student Senators who are not the Student Trustees on the board and who wish to attend the public board meetings to observe the process.
8.3.2 Student Senators shall communicate information to their student councils and to the students at their schools and, as appropriate, to feeder schools, on topics pertaining to students and their school, which have been discussed at Student Senate meetings.
8.3.3 The Student Senator shall, upon receipt of complaints, questions or suggestions regarding a school or service, direct the person or persons to the appropriate principal or supervisor of the service. Student Senators shall not involve themselves with complaints about individual employees of the board. Should the complaint continue, the Student Senator may discuss the matter with the Director of Education or designate.
8.4 Role of Student Trustees
8.4.2 The Student Trustees shall sit at the table at board meetings and at meetings of committee of the whole, public session, and may speak to any matter before the board or committee according to Board Policy 9 Board Governance, representing the views of the majority of Student Senators. The Student Trustees may, at their own discretion, participate in closed sessions of the board, except on issues related to the disclosure of intimate, personal or financial information in respect of a member of the board or committee, an employee or prospective employee of the board or a pupil or their parent or guardian. (Education Act, Section 55 (5))
8.4.3 A Student Trustee cannot move a motion but can suggest a motion. And though a Student Trustee is not entitled to a binding vote, they are entitled to request a recorded vote at any board or committee meeting so that the Student Trustee’s voice can be reported. When such a request is made, two votes must take place, the first including the Student Trustee(s’) vote(s) and the second without the Student Trustee(s’) vote(s). (Education Act, Section 55 (3))
8.5 Conflict of Interest
8.5.2 When a Student Trustee declares a conflict of interest on any matter before the board they:
- shall, prior to any consideration of the matter at the meeting, disclose the interest and the general nature thereof;
- shall not take part in the discussion and shall absent themselves from the room while the matter is being discussed; and
- shall not attempt in any way whether before, during or after the meeting to influence the voting on any such question.
8.6.2 As part of the reciprocal relationship, the Student Senators and board members may contact one another to share perspectives.
8.7 Disqualification of a Student Senator
8.7.2 Disqualification may occur for one of the following reasons:
- the Student Senator fails to maintain the required attendance at Student Senate meetings;
- the Student Senator ceases to be enrolled as a full-time student in the board;
- the Student Senator commits a serious breach of their school’s code of conduct; or
- the Student Senator’s behaviour is deemed to be incompatible with the roles and responsibilities of the position.
8.8 Recognition of Student Senators and Student Trustees
8.8.2 Upon completion of their term of office, each Student Trustee is entitled to an honorarium. If a Student Trustee holds office for less than a full term, a prorated amount of the honorarium will be paid.
9. Filling Vacancies on the Board
This policy establishes the process by which the board shall fill a vacancy on the board when a board member resigns, becomes ineligible or otherwise creates a vacancy on the board during the term of the board. It also establishes the process by which the board fills a vacancy when no qualified candidate runs in an election.
- appoint a qualified person to the vacancy within 90 days after the office becomes vacant, if a majority of the elected members remain in office ; or
- if no majority remains, or in a year in which no regular election is held under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, or before April 1 in the year of a regular
election, or after the new board is organized in the year of a regular election, by requiring the municipality to hold a by-election.
- Clauses (a) and (b) do not apply when the vacancy occurs within one month before an election, in which case the vacancy shall not be filled. (Education
Act, Section 224)
9.2.3 The method of appointment is not specified in the Education Act.
9.2.4 Should the board be unable to fill the vacant position(s), the Minister may appoint as members of the board such persons as the Minister may consider proper, and the persons so appointed have, during the term of such appointment, all the authority of board members as though they were eligible and duly elected. (Education Act, Section 226).
9.3 Board Decisions
If the board chooses to fill a board member vacancy through a by-election in the vacated electoral zone, the process becomes the responsibility of the local municipality and takes approximately ten weeks. The municipality will provide to the board information regarding the implications of holding a by-election, including previous election results and estimated costs.
9.3.2 Appointment Process
- If the board chooses to appoint a board member, the Education Act Section 221 (1)(a) requires that the vacancy be filled within 90 days after the office becomes vacant.
- The Education Act Section 219 (1) specifies the qualifications necessary to be a member of a board. The person must be:
- Qualified to vote for members of the board; and
- A resident in the area of jurisdiction of the board. Disqualifications are outlined in Sections 219(4), (5) and (7) of the Education Act.
- The board may choose to appoint one of the unsuccessful board member candidates from the last municipal election, providing that the candidate remains a qualified person and is willing to serve. Or, if an election falls within the 90-day period following the seat becoming vacant, the board may, if feasible, appoint one of the successful candidates in the election to the vacancy for the remainder of the current term
- If the board chooses to offer the vacancy to a broader range of electors, the following actions will occur:
- The vacancy shall be advertised in the local media.
- Persons interested in the position shall be required to submit an application in writing to the Secretary of the Board.
- Applicants will be required to provide the following information:
- Why they are interested in the position;
- Their background, qualifications, interests, experience, and concerns regarding the position; and
- Other information they think is pertinent
- Any person expressing interest in applying for the position shall be offered a package of information to be picked up or sent electronically from the Secretary of the Board containing:
- Avon Maitland District School Board facts folder;
- Policy 5 Board Members’ Code of Conduct;
- Schedule of board and committee meetings;
- Committee membership lists; and
- The OPSBA’s “What Do Trustees Do”.
- If filling the position by appointment, the board shall conduct an interview process.
9.4.2 Interviews shall be conducted on board premises, which may include a school or the Education Centre.
9.4.3 The Secretary of the Board shall ask board members to indicate their intention about their attendance and participation in the interviews.
9.4.4 Board members participating shall constitute an ad hoc selection committee. Committee membership shall be a minimum of three board members. The
selection committee shall select its Chair from among its members. Only board members who have participated in all interviews shall vote on the committee recommendation. The committee shall make its recommendation to the board at the next meeting of the board.
9.4.5 The Secretary of the Board shall be the administrative liaison to the selection committee.
9.4.6 The selection committee shall establish its operating practices, but these shall include a common set of questions for all applicants.
9.4.7 In the event that two or more candidates receive an equal number of votes, the Chair of the board shall provide for the drawing of lots to determine which of the candidates will be appointed. (Education Act, Section 227).
9.4.8 The appointed candidate shall be advised promptly of the board’s decision and shall be sworn in at the next opportunity following their appointment.
10. Board Member Expenses
10.2 Avon Maitland District School Board assumes no obligation to reimburse expenses that are not in compliance with this policy.
10.3 Avon Maitland District School Board recognizes the benefit to the board of board members participating in professional development, including area, regional or provincial conferences and conventions related to current and ongoing matters of importance and interest to the board.
10.4 Computer equipment and adequate technical support to access the board’s intranet system will be provided to trustees. Any equipment provided under this policy remains the property of the board, to be returned at the end of the member’s final term of office. In the case of technology replacement by the board, trustees will be given the option to purchase the replaced equipment at its depreciated value.
Claim for Reimbursement of Expenses – See Administrative Procedure 515 re Travel and Expense Claims
On a monthly basis, board members should submit an expense claim form to the Director’s office, using Form 515 Travel and Expense Claims. Blank forms may be obtained from the office of the Director. Claims for expenses must include detailed invoices or receipts. When submitting a statement of expense, board members will state the purpose of the trip in the space provided and, if known, the specific budget code to which it is to be charged, as well as sufficient details to explain the expenses. Claims will be approved by the Director of Education and processed for payment. Reimbursement will be by electronic funds transfer. Claims should be made under the following categories:
Travel expense is defined as the most practical mode of transportation to suit the occasion. This includes kilometrage driven from residence to board meetings, committee meetings, board activities, conferences and conventions or kilometrage between consecutive board events, if applicable. It will be paid at the current board determined kilometer rate. Car-pooling is encouraged whenever appropriate. The allowance paid for the use of a personal automobile is deemed to cover all costs of operation including insurance, depreciation, gas, oil, repairs, etc.
- Other Expenses
Actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred which are incidental to the normal operation of a board member’s home or business will be reimbursed. These claims will include, but are not limited to:
- Long distance AMDSB business telephone calls
- Basic high-speed internet access plan if not previously existing
- Mobile phone and basic plan if not previously existing – Chair and Vice-Chair only. The phone remains the property of the board and is to be returned when
the member is no longer in the Chair or Vice-Chair role.
Hospitality is the provision of food, beverages, accommodation, transportation, or other amenities at board expense. Hospitality expenses should be necessary, reasonable and eligible under Ministry regulations. Where specified, prior approval of the board is required before the expense is incurred if it is to be eligible for reimbursement.
10.7 Professional Development for Board Members
Notification of conferences or conventions that may be of interest to members of the board will be distributed or communicated from the office of the Director, as the information is available.
- Funding for professional development (including conferences and conventions and required travel) will be determined on an annual basis during the deliberations of the board’s budget process. This will include amounts designated for Chair, Vice-Chair, OPSBA delegate and board members.
- Professional development includes, but is not limited to, attendance at conferences and conventions, courses related to the role of the board member, and the purchase of professional print materials such as books or relevant magazine subscriptions.
- The budget allotment for members is distributed on an as-used basis. The board and the treasurer shall monitor the fund on an on-going basis and if concerns arise, board members shall decide by consensus how to ensure it is not over-spent.
- Board approval is required for an expenditure which would cause the total fund in 10.6 (a) to be exceeded. It is recognized that the board’s Ontario Public School Boards’ Association Director and any member of OPSBA’s executive may have higher-than-average expenses in order to attend OPSBA conferences within Ontario.
The approved allotment shall be determined as part of the annual budget process and allocated by the Director of Education or designate. (See reference in Section 8.4.1 [b] vi under Avon Maitland District School Board Student Senate.)
10.7.2 Annual Report
Annually, at the completion of the fiscal year, the amount expended by each board member in each category specified by this policy shall be reported to the board.
11. Indemnification of Board Members
As permitted under Section 176 of the Education Act, Avon Maitland District School Board provides group accident insurance to indemnify a member of a board or their estate against loss in case they are accidentally injured or killed. The board also provides group public liability and property damage insurance to indemnify a member of a board or their estate in respect of loss or damage for which he or she has become liable by reason of injury to persons or property or in respect of loss or damage suffered by him or her by reason of injury to his or her own property, while traveling on the business of the board or in the performance of duties as a member of the board within or outside the area over which the board has jurisdiction.
12. Tributes: Illness and Funerals
- Flowers or other small memento for the illness of a board member.
- Flowers or an appropriate donation to a charity or place of worship of the family’s choice upon the death of a board member or immediate family member.
12.3 In the case of death in the family, “immediate family” is defined as spouse, parents, and children. Discretionary power is vested in the Chair or the Director of Education as to whether other persons can be recognized.
12.4 The Director’s office will be responsible for deciding upon and making whatever purchase is appropriate and will also be responsible for notifying other members of the board.
13. Board Annual Review/Self-Evaluation (see Appendices 4 & 5)
13.2 The purpose of the board review/self-evaluation is to answer such questions as the following:
- How well have we fulfilled each of our defined roles in relation to our district mission and vision as a board this year?
- How well do we receive input and how well do we communicate?
- How well have we adhered to our annual work plan?
- How would we rate our board/Director relations?
- How well have we adhered to our governance policies?
- What have we accomplished this past year? How do we know?
- A learning organization is focused on the improvement of practice.
- A pre-determined process for evaluation strengthens the governance function and builds credibility for the board.
- An evidence-based approach provides objectivity.
- Review of the previous year’s Board Self-Evaluation highlighting any areas of concern;
- Review of board role performance;
- Monitoring trustee development and interpersonal working relationships;
- Monitoring board representation/communication;
- Review of the annual work plan completion;
- Monitoring board/Director relations;
- Review of adherence to regulation and policies;
- Review of board governance policies; and
- Creating a positive path forward.
Appendix 2 - Order of Business - Regular Session Business Meeting
Revised April 2023