This is a brief synopsis of what O. Reg. 612/00 means for school councils and is not meant to be inclusive of all aspects of the regulation.
The regulation addresses three key areas: the purpose of school councils, operational matters, and the obligation of boards and principals to consult with school councils.
- School councils must consult with parents/guardians of students enrolledin the school about matters under consideration by the council
- Any advice provided to the principal or school board will be based on the general views of the school community and the best interests of all students in the school
- Each school council is accountable to the school community it represents
1. Composition of a school council consists of the following VOTING members
- Parents represent the majority of voting members including the chair/co-chairs who must be parent members
- Teacher employed at the school, one member only
- Non-teaching employee of the school, one member only
- One student, in the case of secondary schools, optional for elementary schools (principal of an elementary school in consultation with the council may appoint a student member)
- One or more community representatives appointed by council
- One person appointed by an association that is a member of the Ontario Federation of Home and Schools, if the association is represented at the school
and the following NON-VOTING members:
- School principal or designated vice principal
Note: A board employee who works at the school his/her child attends is not eligible to serve as a parent member of council nor as a chair, co-chair, treasurer or secretary; however, this employee can serve as a teaching or non-teaching representative on council. The board employee can serve as a parent member of their child’s school as long as they declare their status as a board employee and they are not employed at their child’s school.
School Trustees are not eligible to be members of school councils within their board.
2. Elections and Term of Office: a one year term is stipulated and the election must be held within the first 30 days of the start of the school year. The regulation does not restrict the number of times that a member can be re-elected or reappointed to school council. The first meeting of the new council must occur within 35 days of the election. Parents must be given 14 days notice of the election date.
3. Incorporation and Legal Liability: Regulation 612/00 prohibits school councils from being incorporated as the council belongs to the corporation of the Halton District School Board. This mandate does not require any additional legal status.
4. Insurance: It must be noted that if a school council arranges activities outside the normal school day without an administrator present, the council could be held liable for any problems that might occur. If a council proceeds in this manner, the council should seek clarification about what is and what isn’t covered by the board’s insurance policy. Consult the principal, school superintendent and/ or the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE) at www.osbie.on.ca
5. Remuneration: school council members will not be paid for their work on councils; however, each HDSB school budget has a budget line to support expenses incurred as part of school council business through allocation of Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) funds in the amount of $500, annually.
6. Fundraising: must be in accordance with the board fundraising policy/procedure. Any fundraising activities that involve the sale of food and beverages on the school premises must comply with the School Food and Beverage Policy (PPM 150 Nutrition Standards). All fundraising activities must have a stated purpose and be aligned with the School Improvement Plan goal areas. Students, parents and the broader school community must be informed as to how fundraising proceeds are used. Since school councils are advisory bodies and not entities with the legal capacity of a corporate body, funds collected through the school council must be reported by the board to the Ministry.
7. Annual Reports: at the end of its term, the school council must prepare and submit a written report to the school and to the board outlining the following information:
a. The council’s goals for the previous school year
b. Activities and achievements
c. Fund-raising activities
d. List of council members and positions held
e. Dates of previous school year’s council meetings
8. The School Council Financial Report, supported by bank records, must be submitted to Board Office by August 31st as required by the Public Sector Accounting Board.