Board of Education Code of Ethics
The Whitfield County Board of Education desires to operate in the most ethical and conscientious manner possible and to that end the board adopts this Code of Ethics and each member of the board agrees that he or she will:
Domain I: Governance Structure
- Recognize that the authority of the board rests only with the board as a whole and not with individual board members and act accordingly.
- Support the delegation of authority for the day-to-day administration of the school system to the local superintendent and act accordingly.
- Honor the chain of command and refer problems or complaints consistent with the chain of command.
- Recognize that the local superintendent should serve as secretary, ex-officio to the board and should be present at all meetings of the board except when his or her contract, salary or performance is under consideration.
- Not undermine the authority of the local superintendent or intrude into responsibilities that properly belong to the local superintendent or school administration, including such functions as hiring, transferring or dismissing employees.
- Use reasonable efforts to keep the local superintendent informed of concerns or specific recommendations that any member of the board may bring to the board.
Domain II: Strategic Planning
- Reflect through actions that his or her first and foremost concern is for the educational welfare of children attending schools within the school system.
- Participate in all planning activities to develop the vision and goals of the board and the school system.
- Work with the board and the local superintendent to ensure prudent and accountable uses of the resources of the school system.
- Render all decisions based on available facts and his or her independent judgment and refuse to surrender his or her judgment to individuals or special interest groups.
- Uphold and enforce all applicable laws, all rules and regulations of the State Board of Education and the board and all court orders pertaining to the school system.
Domain III: Board and Community Relations
- Seek regular and systemic communications among the board and students, staff and the community.
- Communicate to the board and the local superintendent expressions of public reaction to board policies and school programs.
Domain IV: Policy Development
- Work with other board members to establish effective policies for the school system.
- Make decisions on policy matters only after full discussion at publicly held board meetings.
- Periodically review and evaluate the effectiveness of policies on school system programs and performance.
Domain V: Board Meetings
- Attend and participate in regularly scheduled and called board meetings.
- Be informed and prepared to discuss issues to be considered on board agenda.
- Work with other board members in a spirit of harmony and cooperation in spite of differences of opinion that may arise during the discussion and resolution of issues at board meetings.
- Vote for a closed executive session of the board only when applicable law or board policy requires consideration of a matter in executive session.
- Maintain the confidentiality of all discussions and other matters pertaining to the board and the school system, during executive session of the board.
- Make decisions in accordance with the interests of the school system as a whole and not any particular segment thereof.
- A local board of education shall not adopt or follow any code of ethics which prevents the members of such board from discussing freely the policies and actions of such board outside of a board meeting. This shall not apply to any matter or matters discussed in executive session or which are exempt from disclosure under Code Section 50-18-72.
- Abide by all decisions of the board.
Domain VI: Personnel
- Consider the employment of personnel only after receiving and considering the recommendation of local superintendent.
- Support the employment of persons best qualified to serve as employees of the school system and insist on regular and impartial evaluations of school system staff.
- Comply with all applicable law, rules and regulations and all board policy regarding employment of family members.
Domain VII: Financial Governance
- Refrain from using the position of board member for personal or partisan gain or to benefit any person or entity over the interest the school system.
Conduct as Board Member
- Devote sufficient time, thought and study to the performance of the duties and responsibilities a member of the board.
- Become informed about current educational issues by individual study and through participation in programs providing needed education and training.
- Communicate in a respectful professional manner with and about fellow board members.
- Take no private action that will compromise the board or school system administration.
- Participate in all required training programs developed for board members by the board or the State Board of Education.
- File annually with the local superintendent and with the State Board of Education a written statement certifying that he or she is in compliance with this Code of Ethics.
Conflicts of Interest
- Announce potential conflicts of interest before board action is taken.
- Comply with the conflicts of interest policy of the board, all applicable laws and Appendix B of the Standards document.