Wake Ed

August 27, 2014

Wake County considering $24,900 plan to revise school board policy manual

The Wake County school board is considering a $24,900 proposal to convert the district’s policy manual to match the one used by the N.C. School Boards Association.

The days of talking about “6200” in Wake County and people knowing it meant the student assignment policy could be coming to an end.

The Wake County school board is considering a $24,900 proposal to convert the district’s policy manual to match the one used by the N.C. School Boards Association. Among the changes would be the reorganizing and renumbering of Wake’s 410 policies to match the NCSBA numbering sequence.

The proposal was backed by Wake County school administrators and several school board members at Tuesday’s policy committee meeting.

“The cost is very appropriate,” school board member Bill Fletcher said at the meeting. “The necessity of doing the review is absolutely there. It’s clear we need to do that.”

The impetus for the proposal is Wake school board policy 1500, which says the school board “periodically shall hold a review of its operations and procedures.”

Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent for school performance, said the last review occurred between 2007 and 2010 following the curriculum management audit’s recommendation that board governance policies be reviewed. She told the committee that the review stopped in 2010 because the work “got interrupted by other priorities.”

“This would not be a minor undertaking,” board member Jim Martin, chairman of the policy committee told his colleagues. “But we are charged with the periodic review and none of this has been done since any of us have been on the board.”

As part of the review, the school district reached out to the NCSBA, which develops model policies for school boards around the state. Click here for a memo from NCSBA on the proposed review they’d do for Wake. Options range from $12,500 to $29,900.

Marvin Connelly, chief of staff and strategic planning, told the committee they’re recommending the middle option of $24,900. In this model, NCSBA will send draft policies to the board’s policy committee for review. They’d then go to the NCSBA, which would review proposed changes that go to the full board for approval.

In addition, Wake is considering paying NCSBA to host the board’s policy manual on the association’s server. Connelly said the cost would be minimal, a few hundred dollars a year. NCSBA would post updates within 24-48 hours.

Wake might also pay NCSBA attorneys to come to board meetings to explain why some policy changes are recommended by the group. The cost would be $85 per hour with the board deciding whether to make the request.

Jonathan Blumberg, the school board’s attorney, said it would be more efficient to pay NCSBA to come and discuss the policy changes than to pay him to research them.

Allison Schafer, NCSBA’s director of policy/legal counsel, promoted how the change would make it easier for Wake to conform with policy revisions recommended by the group that are necessitated by changes in state and federal law.

Connelly said the overhaul of the policies would take two years. Martin said that it will give the board a chance to streamline the policies with the district having the option to keep policies unique to the district.

School board chairwoman Christine Kushner said the board’s executive committee will discuss Wednesday how to present the proposal to the full board.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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