School councils are not required to develop lengthy constitutions since O. Reg. 612/00 sets out the mandate and roles and responsibilities for school councils.
In effect, the regulation serves as the constitution for the school council. Similarly, boards are not required to develop polices on the operation of school councils; however, the Halton District School Board established a policy which governs the role and responsibility of School Councils.
School councils must develop certain bylaws to provide them with direction for the operation of council business and to help council work effectively. Regulation 612/00 requires council to develop bylaws to address the following areas:
- election procedures
- filling vacancies
- conflict of interest
- conflict resolution procedures
A school council may wish to develop bylaws related to the following:
- a code of ethics
- general expectations regarding attendance at meetings, other operating norms, e.g., promptness at meetings, decision making method, etc.
- the number of meetings and scheduling of meetings – O. Reg. 612/00 requires a minimum of four (4) meetings of council per year
- the number of parent members on council and the number of members required for a quorum
- the number, description, and duties of the executive officers
- any requirements regarding signing officers
- the establishment and role of committees, e.g. Ad Hoc and Standing
- a process for seeking input from the community
According to O. Reg. 612/00, elections must take place at the same time each year – within the first 30 days of each school year. However, in the case of a new school, the first election must be held during the first 30 days of the school opening, on a date fixed by the board that established the council.
Since September is a busy time of the year for parents and educators, school councils may want to prepare an election plan in June for execution in September.
Please consult the Halton School Council Handbook, revised 2003 and the Ministry of Education resource, School Councils: A Guide for Members, revised 2002, for strategies and exemplars related to the preceding information (pg. 15).