School Council

What is a school council?

A school council is a representative, school building-based committee composed of the principal, parents, teachers, community members and, at the secondary level, students, required to be established by each school pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 71, Section 59C.

Who is responsible for organizing a school council?

The law explicitly gives the school principal responsibility for defining the composition and overseeing the formation of the council pursuant to a representative process approved by the superintendent and school committee.  As co-chair of the council, the principal is also responsible for convening the first meeting of the council.  At this meeting, the other co-chair is selected.

To whom do councils report?

Councils are to assist principals by reviewing the school building budget and developing the school improvement plan.  Councils may also take on other responsibilities, including policy making, as granted by the local school committee.  Councils' school improvement plans are submitted to the local school committee for review and approval.

How many members should the council contain?

The law leaves it up to each principal, "pursuant to a representative process approved by the superintendent and school committee," to define the size and composition of the council.  It does, however, make three stipulations about membership.

  1. Parents "shall have parity with professional personnel on the school councils."  Regardless of the size of the council, the number of parent representatives must be equal to the number of teachers who serve on the council plus the principal.
  2. "Not more than fifty percent of the council shall be non-school members."  "Non-school members" are defined as members who are "other than parents, teachers, students and staff at the school."

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