Thomas Street Middle School - School Council Bylaws
These are the bylaws of the Thomas Street School Council as adopted on April 21, 2008.
When used in these bylaws, these terms are to be interpreted as follows:
1.1. “School” refers to Thomas Street Middle School.
1.2. “Council” refers to the school council of Thomas Street Middle School.
1.3. “Board” refers to the Peel District School Board.
1.4. “Ministry” refers to the Ministry of Education of the Province of Ontario.
1.5. “Chair” refers to the chair or, if applicable, co-chairs, of the Council.
1.6. “Secretary” refers to the secretary or, if applicable, co-secretaries of the Council.
1.7. “Treasurer” refers to the treasurer or, if applicable, co-treasurers of the Council.
1.8. “Regulation” refers to the Education Act of the Province of Ontario and its regulations, including Ontario Regulations 612/00 and 613/00 as well as all other statutes and regulations that govern the operation of school councils in Ontario.
1.9. “Board Policy” refers to policies and operating procedures of the Peel District School Board, including Policy #61 and Operating Procedure 12 as well as all other policies and operating procedures which govern the operation of school councils under the Board.
2.1. The purpose of the Council is, through the active participation of parents, to improve student achievement and to enhance the accountability of the education system to parents.
2.2. The Council brings together parents, administration, and staff in order to improve the education of students at the School.
2.3. The Council supports the four pillars of the School’s professional learning community, namely its mission, vision, and values as well as the collective commitments made by the community.
2.4. The Council’s primary means of achieving its purpose is by making recommendations to the School Principal in accordance with the Regulation and Board Policy.
Membership in the Council is broadly defined in the Regulation and Board Policy. The following additional rules will be used by the Council in determining eligibility for membership.
3.1. Principal and Vice Principals
3.1.1. The School Principal is a member of the Council.
3.1.2. The School Principal may designate the School Vice-Principal to represent them on the Council as per the Regulation, however, the School Vice-Principal is invited to sit on the Council at all times.
3.2. Teaching Staff
3.2.1. All persons, other than the Principal and Vice-Principal, who are employed at the School on a full-time or part-time basis and who hold a valid teaching certificate are eligible to become a teaching staff member of the Council.
3.2.2. Except where no eligible and willing candidate can be found, there will be at least one teaching staff member of the Council at all times.
3.2.3. There is no fixed upper limit on the number of teaching staff members on the Council. However, one or more teaching staff members may be compelled to resign if this is deemed necessary to ensure that the majority of Council members are parent members.
3.3. Non-Teaching Staff
3.3.1. All persons who are employed at the School on a full-time or part-time basis and who do not hold a valid teaching certificate are eligible to become a non-teaching staff member of the Council.
3.3.2. Except where no eligible and willing candidate can be found, there will be at least one non-teaching staff member of the Council at all times.
3.3.3. There is no fixed upper limit on the number of non-teaching staff members on the Council. However, one or more non-teaching staff members may be compelled to resign if this is deemed necessary to ensure that the majority of Council members are parent members.
3.4. Community Representative
3.4.1. All persons who have a vested interest in the School community and are ineligible for membership in the Council under any other membership class are eligible to become a community representative member of the Council. No other restrictions will be observed in determining eligibility for this class of Council membership.
3.4.2. Except where no eligible and willing candidate can be found, there will be at least one community representative member of the Council at all times.
3.4.3. There is no fixed upper limit on the number of community representative members on the Council. However, one or more community representative members may be compelled to resign if this is deemed necessary to ensure that the majority of Council members are parent members.
3.5.1. All persons, except as noted below, who are the parent or legal guardian of one or more students attending the School are eligible to become a parent member of the Council. Trustees of the Board and employees of the School are not eligible to become parent members of the Council. Board employees who are not employed at the School may become parent members, provided that they disclose their employment status prior to being elected.
3.5.2. Except where an insufficient number of eligible and willing candidates can be found, the parent members will always constitute a majority of members of the Council.
3.5.3. There is no fixed upper limit on the number of parent members.
4. Elections and Vacancies
The election and vacancy provisions of these bylaws reflect the Council’s goal of maximizing the participation of committed volunteers who are dedicated to the success of students.
4.1. Election of Non-Parent Members
4.1.1. The School Principal and Vice-Principal are designated members of the council and are not elected.
4.1.2. Teaching staff members are elected from amongst those who are eligible to hold the position. If it becomes necessary to reduce the number of teaching staff members in order to preserve the parent member majority, then the members who will remain on Council will be selected by secret ballot of all those eligible for the position. This secret ballot will be supervised by the School Principal or their designate.
4.1.3. Non-teaching staff members are elected from amongst those who are eligible to hold the position. If it becomes necessary to reduce the number of non-teaching staff members in order to preserve the parent member majority, then the members who will remain on Council will be selected by secret ballot of all those eligible for the position. This secret ballot will be supervised by the School Principal or their designate.
4.1.4. Community representative members are appointed by the Council at any regular meeting. If it becomes necessary to reduce the number of community representative members in order to preserve the parent member majority, then the members who will remain on Council will be selected by open ballot of the Council at any regular meeting.
4.1.5. Teaching staff and non-teaching staff, and community representative members can join the Council at any time; however candidates are encouraged to declare themselves as early as possible in the school year.
4.2. Election of Parent Members
4.2.1. Parent members are acclaimed at any regular Council meeting. A person must be present and complete a nomination form to be acclaimed.
4.2.2. Employees of the Board who are eligible to become parent members according to 3.5.1 must indicate their employment status on their nomination forms in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
4.3.1. Members may choose to resign from the Council at any time. Voluntary resignation must be made in writing to the Council. Voluntary resignations will become official when they are accepted by the Council at any regular meeting.
4.3.2. Members who cease to be eligible for their class of membership during the course of the school year must resign from the Council. Such resignations do not require notice in writing.
4.3.3. Members who do not attend two consecutive regular meetings of the Council will be presumed to have resigned. Such resignations do not require notice in writing.
4.3.4. Any member who has resigned is allowed to rejoin the Council provided that they meet the eligibility requirements and follow the election procedures laid out in these bylaws.
4.3.5. Except as explicitly defined elsewhere in these bylaws, no member can be compelled to resign from Council.
The officers of the Council are critical to the organization and smooth operation of the Council. As such, continuity in these roles is important. It is recommended, but not mandatory that persons seeking to become an officer of the Council should be prepared to make a commitment of two or more years.
5.1. The Council shall have the following officers:
5.1.1. Chair. The Chair is responsible for conducting regular meetings of the Council and for various other duties as may be set out in the Regulation and Board Policy, including: In co-operation with the School Principal, setting the agenda of Council meetings, interpreting these bylaws, and preparation of the annual report of the Council, which is published at the beginning of each school year covering activities in the previous school year. Two persons may decide to share the role of Chair, in which case they will be Co-Chairs.
5.1.2. Secretary. The Secretary is responsible for gathering and reporting the attendance at each regular and special meeting and for recording all official decisions of the Council in the minutes of these meetings, which will be made available to the public by the School as required in the Regulation.
5.1.3. Treasurer. The Treasurer accounts for all monies collected and disbursed by the Council. The Treasurer also prepares the financial statements of the Council for each regular meeting and the annual financial statements of the Council at the end of each school year.
5.2. All officers shall be current parent members of the Council.
5.2.1. In accordance with Ontario Regulation 612/00 8. (3), the Chair may not be an employee of the Board.
5.2.2. Returning incumbents can rerun for offices which they have held in the past. There are no fixed term limits.
5.2.3. Any parent member of the Council may act as more than one officer.
5.3. Officers shall be elected by the voting members of the Council present at the first regular meeting held each school year.
5.3.1. Voting will be by open ballot.
5.3.2. The candidate(s) with the most votes for an office will hold that office for one year.
5.4. Should an office become vacant, the vacancy will be filled at the next regular meeting of the Council.
5.4.1. In the event that an officer expects to be absent from a meeting of the Council, that officer shall endeavour to arrange for another council member to perform their duties during their absence. Voting members of the council may choose a temporary replacement from among those present at a meeting where an officer is absent.
5.4.2. The Council may choose to remove an officer by two-thirds majority vote at any regular meeting of the Council.
Sub-committees of the Council are vital to the success of Council initiatives. These groups of volunteers perform the planning and execution of activities and events which further the goals of the Council and give all parents and community members an opportunity to contribute to the success of the students.
6.1. The Council may decide to form any ad hoc sub-committees which it may deem to be useful from time to time.
6.2. Committees shall be composed as follows:
6.2.1. The chair, or co-chairs, of each committee must be current parent members of the Council. The chair or co-chairs of each committee are responsible for reporting their committee’s activity back to the Council.
6.2.2. The chair, or co-chairs, of each committee will be appointed by the Council at any regular meeting.
6.2.3. Except for the chair, or co-chairs, members of a committee need not be members of the Council.
6.2.4. The Chair of the Council is an ex officio member of all sub-committees.
6.2.5. The School Principal is an ex officio member of all sub-committees.
The business of the Council shall be conducted via public meetings as follows:
7.1. Regular Meetings
7.1.1. Regular meetings will be scheduled in advance by the Council as follows: The first regular meeting of each school year will be scheduled before the end of the previous school year. This first regular meeting must take place within the month of September. The remaining regular meetings for a school year will be scheduled by the Council at the September meeting.
7.1.2. The Council will hold a minimum of four regular meetings during the course of each school year, but may choose to hold more.
7.1.3. The schedule for regular meetings must be made available to the public via a medium which is deemed appropriate by the School Principal.
7.1.4. The Council can decide to change the date for any regular meeting as long as public notice is given as per 7.1.3.
7.1.5. Any matter which is properly part of Council business may be discussed at a regular meeting.
7.2. Special Meetings
7.2.1. The Chair may decide to call a special meeting of the Council in order to discuss a specific, urgent matter.
7.2.2. Special meetings require seven days advanced notice to be given via any medium which is deemed appropriate by the School Principal. This notice will include the date, time and place of the meeting as well as the specific subject for which the meeting is being convened.
7.2.3. Only matters for which advanced notice have been given may be discussed at special meetings.
7.3. Openness of Meetings
7.3.1. All regular meetings are open to the public. Members of the public are free to attend and participate in regular meetings of the Council.
7.3.2. All special meetings are open to the public. Members of the public are free to attend and participate in special meetings of the Council.
7.3.3. Notwithstanding 7.3.1 and 7.3.2, the Chair will exercise discretion in limiting the extent and range of participation by the public in order to ensure that the business of the Council is conducted appropriately.
8. Voting and Quorum
8.1. Decisions made by the Council will be made via consensus whenever possible.
8.2. Where consensus cannot be reached, the Chair can choose to call for a vote.
8.3. No decisions of the Council will be made by secret ballot. All votes will be held in the open.
8.4. Except as explicitly stated elsewhere in these bylaws, a vote will pass by simple majority of voting members present at the time of the vote.
8.5. All members of the Council are voting members except:
8.5.1. The School Principal is not allowed to vote.
8.5.2. The School Vice-Principal is not allowed to vote.
8.5.3. The chair will only vote to break a tie. If there are Co-Chairs then neither will vote unless a tie must be broken. If the Co-Chairs cannot agree on who will cast the tie-breaking vote, the issue will be decided by coin toss.
8.6. A quorum must be present in order for a decision of the Council to be official regardless of whether the decision is made by consensus or by a vote.
8.7. Quorum will be counted as follows:
8.7.1. Except as noted in 8.7.2 and 8.7.3, each current member of the Council is counted as one eligible voter.
8.7.2. The School Principal is not counted as an eligible voter.
8.7.3. The School Vice-Principal is not counted as an eligible voter.
8.7.4. The Chair or Co-Chairs will be counted as eligible voters, despite the fact that they will vote only to break a tie.
8.7.5. Quorum shall be fifty percent of the total number of eligible voters on Council. A member must be present to be counted towards a quorum.
8.7.6. As membership in the Council can vary over the course of the school year and attendance can vary over the course of any meeting in which a vote may be taken, quorum must be counted as of the time of each vote.
9. Code of Conduct
The Council and its members shall maintain high standards of integrity.
9.1. The members of the Council shall act according to this code of conduct:
9.1.1. Members of the council will consider the best interests of all students.
9.1.2. Members will be guided by the purpose of the council as set out in section 2.
9.1.3. Members will act according to the rules set out for school councils in the Regulation, Board Policy and these bylaws.
9.1.4. Members will treat each other and visitors to Council meetings with respect and allow for diverse opinions to be shared without interruption.
9.1.5. Members will foster a positive environment in which individual contributions are encouraged and valued.
9.1.6. Members will acknowledge democratic principles and accept the consensus of the council.
9.1.7. Members will refrain from engaging in discussion of matters which are prohibited by the Regulation and by Board Policy, including discussion about individual parents, students, Board employees, trustees or other Council members. Members will not disclose or discuss confidential information.
9.1.8. Members shall declare any conflict of interest.
9.1.9. Members shall not accept any payment or benefit financially though involvement in the Council.
9.2. Members will show respect for each other by making every effort to attend all meetings and arrive promptly.
9.3. Visitors and guests at meetings of the Council are expected to act according to the same code of conduct as members of the Council.
10. Conflict of Interest
10.1. The members of the Council will avoid all conflicts of interest, whether they be actual, perceived, or potential.
10.2. Members of the Council will declare a conflict of interest in matters that they, members of their families, or business entities in which they may have an interest, stand to benefit either directly or indirectly by decisions of the Council.
10.3. Members of the Council will exclude themselves from discussions in which:
10.3.1. A conflict of interest is likely to result;
10.3.2. The member’s ability to carry out their duties and responsibilities as a member of the Council may be jeopardized;
10.3.3. The member, their relatives, or a business entity in which the member may have an interest, may gain or benefit either directly or indirectly as a result of the actions that may be taken by the School Principal or by the Board in response to advice that the Council provides.
10.4. Members of the Council shall not accept favours or economic benefits from any individuals, organizations, or entities known to be seeking business contracts with the School.
11. Conflict Resolution
Council members are elected to serve the school community and will demonstrate respect for their colleagues at all times.
11.1. Disruptive Behaviour.
11.1.1. It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that all school council meetings remain respectful. When necessary, it is the duty of the Chair to take steps to restore proper decorum.
11.1.2. If a member of the Council or a guest or visitor to a meeting of the Council becomes disruptive during a meeting, the Chair will call for order.
11.1.3. If all efforts to restore order fail, the Chair may direct disruptive individuals to leave the meeting, citing the reasons for this request.
11.1.4. The removal of a member or other meeting attendee from one meeting does not prevent this person from participating in future meetings of the Council.
11.1.5. Any such incident will be recorded by the Chair and submitted to the Superintendent of Education within one week of the meeting.
11.2. Third Party Intervention.
11.2.1. Disputes which cannot be satisfactorily resolved will be referred to a third party for mediation.
11.2.2. The Chair will request the assistance of the Superintendent of Education or another senior administrator of the Board in resolving the dispute. Parties to the dispute are free to choose any third party for this purpose provided that such a person can be mutually agreed upon by all concerned.
12.1. Any reference to the masculine within these bylaws implies the feminine and vice versa.
12.2. Any reference to the singular within these bylaws implies the plural and vice versa, if applicable.
13. Bylaw Change Process
These bylaws must be reviewed periodically to ensure that they remain consistent with the Regulation, Board Policies and the needs of the Council as these evolve.
13.1. Bylaws can be changed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Council at any regular meeting providing that the notice provisions have been observed.
13.2. Public notice must be given before bylaws can be changed. Appropriate public notice includes the following:
13.2.1. The school community must be notified at least fourteen days in advance of the Council meeting that bylaw changes will be on the agenda. This may be achieved by any medium which is deemed appropriate by the School Principal.
13.2.2. The exact wording of proposed changes must be made available for public viewing at least seven days in advance of the Council meeting at which the changes are to be adopted. This may be achieved by any medium which is deemed appropriate by the School Principal.
13.2.3. Notwithstanding 13.2.2, amendments proposed and accepted during debate at a Council meeting may be made without further notice being given.