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Policy Review Could Save ISD 728 Time, Money by Gregg Peppin

peppin The roles of ISD 728 school board members are many and varied. Strategic planning, goal setting, hiring a superintendent, monitoring and working to improve student achievement, approving a budget and serving as watchdogs of the taxpayers’ investment in education are a few of the more noteworthy responsibilities.

Often overlooked, but equally important is the role board members play in reviewing, developing and passing or repealing district policies that impact virtually every aspect of our children’s education.

That is why the board is embarking on an ambitious near two-year policy review process that when completed will have resulted in analysis and discussion of each of the 223 policies currently in effect in District 728.

School district policies are the “laws” that govern school district operations. Some of these policies, such as the policy preventing discrimination against students with disabilities, are mandated by either the federal or state government. Others, such as the policy outlining graduation requirements, have legal implications and are often necessary to receive state and/or federal funding.

A third set of policies may not be mandated or required, but are recommended by the Minnesota School Boards Association as “model” policies that impact every school district. An example of such model policies are those relating to public participation in school board meetings, as well as the rules and procedures governing day-to-day operations of the school board, among many others.

The fourth level of policy governance are the “extra” policies that have been enacted by current or former school boards to address specific situations such as snowmobiles on school district property, or to provide transparency and oversight in such areas as purchasing, the acceptance of gifts by the school district and the procedures relating to visitors and volunteers in our schools. There are 87 extra policies in ISD 728.

The process of analyzing, discussing, amending or rescinding ISD 728 policies is not a job taken lightly by school board members. There will undoubtedly be robust debate, but taxpayers can rest assured the school board and administration are committed to implementing policies that provide the best education possible for our students while doing so in a fiscally responsible manner.

All ISD 728 policies can be found at www.isd728.org/policies.