Frequently Asked Questions
The Clinton - Glen Gardner Board of Education is a five member elected body that adopts policy for the daily operation of schools and sees that school laws are properly explained, enforced, and observed. Currently, the Board consists of five members elected at-large from the Towns of Clinton and Glen Gardner.
Anyone can attend a board meeting.
What transpires at Board meetings?
There are two types of meetings, workshop meetings, generally held on the third Wednesday of the month, and business meetings, generally held on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Workshop meetings cover selected discussion topics (announced ahead of time in the Meeting Notice), Board committee/representative reports, reviews of meeting minutes and the draft action agenda to be voted on at the business meeting. Business meetings include any new board and public business, the Superintendent's report, action agenda, old Board business and announcements by the President.
Board meetings are typically held on the third Wednesday and fourth Tuesday of every month, in the Media Center, of the Clinton Public School located at 10 School Street, Clinton, NJ, 08809. The public portion of the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. Be sure to check here to verify meeting dates.
School Board meetings vary in length, with most averaging about two hours. When discussing personnel, disciplinary or other confidential matters, the Board will move into executive session.
Meeting agendas can be obtained from the school office. They are also posted here, on the district website.
Any citizen may address the Board at any regular meeting during the designated period called "Public Comment" Persons wishing to appear before the School Board are requested to contact the Board Secretary for placement on the agenda. A reasonable period of time, as determined by the School Board, will be allocated at each regular meeting for citizens to present matters of concern.
Are there any guidelines for addressing the Board of Education?
When addressing the Board, individuals are asked to state their name and address, and, if representing a group or organization, identify it by name. To allow time for others to address the Board, speakers are asked to focus their discussion as per the meeting agenda and limit their remarks to five minutes. Comments should be addressed to the officer presiding at the meeting, rather than individual Board members or District personnel.
The only time members of the audience may address the Board during a Board meeting is during the "Public Comment" period, or at the Chairman's request. Flash photography is only permitted during special recognitions. Audience members are requested to turn off cell phones and to leave the room to carry on conversations.
School board members have no power or authority except that which results from participation in decisions and actions of the board in an official session. Actions or commitments by individual board members are without legal basis and have no binding commitment upon the district. Also, a board member represents the entire school district in all matters pertaining to education.
All meetings of the school board are open to the public, including teachers, except when specific notice is given for an executive session. Such executive sessions are to be limited to discussion of the following:
Note: The purpose of an executive session must be announced prior to going into closed session. Only the specifically announced subjects may be discussed, no votes may be taken but minutes must be kept. The results of this meeting / conclusions / decisions are to be released in minute form when the need for confidentially no longer exists.
The function of the school board is not to run the schools but to see that they are run effectively. The superintendent is the person chosen to translate the will of the board into administrative action. Teamwork and cooperation between the board and superintendent are essential.
Officially, the board is responsible for adopting policies, rules, and regulations that define the responsibilities of teachers and for approving all employment contracts. Individually, board members should treat teachers, or any other school employees, in the same way they treat any other citizen of the district. They should listen, but make no personal promises for remediating problems, but rather refer the individual to the proper authority (i.e. chain-of-command).
State laws, union contracts, and local district policies spell out employment, discipline, and release procedures for all school employees. Careful legal steps must be followed to remove any employee from a school district job.
Most districts derive the major portion of their revenue from local tax levies, with varying levels of aid received from the state. Most districts also receive some revenue through special programs funded by the state and the federal government. Boards are governed in the amount of revenue they may raise through taxes by a "cap" set by the State. A few districts in the State are appointed boards (as opposed to elected) and operate with a board of school estimate that sets the tax rate and the budget without having to go to the public via the election process.
A district’s budget is the means to translate board goals into action, so the board should discuss implications of program needs and set parameters for budget development. The superintendent then works with other staff members to draft a budget that attempts to actualize these board goals, student needs, complies with state laws and regulations, and stays within available district financial resources. Once the board approves the budget, the superintendent is responsible for administering and living within its limits and for seeking board approval of expenditures.
Since the decision-making authority is vested in the board and not in the individual members, a board member will be successful in achieving her (his) personal goals and in implementing personal ideas only if and when she can convince a majority of the members of the board that her proposals have merit. Each board member has an obligation to not only to express her views but, once the decision is made, to accept and support the board's final decisions.
The school board can establish what will be taught, when and where it will be taught, to whom it will be taught, and with what materials it will be taught. A professional staff of administrators and teachers is employed by the board to manage and carry out these instructional tasks, determining the who and the how.