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GP103 – Board Members’ Principles of Operation: Conduct & Ethics

  • Effective: 9/25/2012
  • Revision: 6/8/2021

The Board commits itself and its members to ethical, professional, and lawful conduct, including proper use of authority and appropriate decorum when acting as Board members. In such conduct, the Board members shall fulfill the responsibilities set forth in the Oath of Office.

  1. Board of Education members shall have commitment to the owners, the people of Jordan School District, unconflicted by loyalties to staff, other organizations, and any personal interest as a parent or guardian of a student.
  2. Board members shall avoid conflicts of interest with respect to their Board responsibilities.
    1. Board members shall annually, by the first Board of Education meeting in January or upon discovery, disclose their involvements with other organizations, with vendors, or any associations that are or might reasonably be seen as creating a conflict.
    2. When the Board is to decide upon an issue about which a member has a conflict of interest, that member shall withdraw without comment, not only from the vote, but also from the deliberation.
    3. Board members shall not use their Board of Education positions to obtain employment in the District, or other advantages for themselves, family members, or close associates. Should a Board member apply for employment in Jordan School District, he or she must first resign from the Board of Education.
    4. Members shall not accept or receive, directly or indirectly, a personal financial benefit, or accept any gift, token, membership, or service as a result of a District purchase entered into or anticipated in the future, from any person, firm, or corporation.
  3. Board members shall recognize that authority rests with the Board only in official meetings and that the individual member has no legal status to bind the Board of Education outside such meetings.
    1. In all meetings, a majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and no action of the Board shall be valid unless such action shall receive the approval of a majority of all Board members present.
    2. Board members must follow all open meeting laws established by the current Utah Open Meeting Law.
    3. Individual Board members have no authority when interacting with the Superintendent or staff, except when explicitly authorized by the Board of Education.
    4. When speaking with the public, press, or other entities, individual Board members must recognize they have no authority to speak for the Board unless specifically authorized or to repeat explicitly stated Board decisions.
    5. When speaking as an individual, the appropriate title of the Jordan Board of Education member may be used.
    6. Except for participation in Board deliberation about whether the Superintendent or Business Administrator has achieved reasonable interpretation of Board policy, Board members will not express individual judgments of performance of employees of the Superintendent.
  4. When on social media Board members will:
    1. Clarify that they are speaking as an individual and not for the Board, unless they have been directed by the Board to act as the spokesperson. In such directed instances they should ensure that only items that have been addressed by and voted on by the Board are shared.
    2. Not post statements that make it appear they have already formed an opinion on matters that are before the Board.
    3. On seeking input on an item coming before the Board, not indicate they will take the majority response to form their vote.
    4. Ensure they only post items that have been shared in an open meeting.
    5. Be respectful of the privacy of students and employees.
    6. Be cognizant of the fact that a Board member’s posts may be subject to retention or disclosure in accordance with state public records laws or the District’s record retention policies.
    7. Not accuse by name or position a Jordan District employee of wrongdoing.
  5. Board members shall honor the high responsibility that Board of Education membership demands by:
    1. Thinking and acting always in terms of "students first."
    2. Understanding and accepting that the basic function of a Board member is "policymaking," not “administration."
    3. Ensuring that appropriate facilities and resources are provided for the proper functioning of the schools.
    4. Making policy decisions without submitting to political pressure.
    5. Representing the entire school community, not just the precinct from which the Board member was elected.
    6. Becoming well informed concerning the duties of Board members and proper functions of public schools.
    7. Ensuring that they are properly prepared to participate in Board deliberations.
    8. Exercising oversight on behalf of all students and constituents regarding District policy, goals, and programs.
    9. Refusing to discuss confidential business of the Board, including closed session items, anywhere but in the proper Board setting.
    10. Refraining from drawing harmful attention to an individual or a group associated with Jordan School District.
  6. Board members shall respect relationships with other members of the Board by:
    1. Making decisions only after all facts bearing on a question have been presented and discussed.
    2. Respecting the right of others to their opinions and supporting the "majority rule" principle.
    3. Providing any prepared material for use during a Board meeting to all Board members prior to the meeting.
    4. Demonstrating respect for fellow Board members at all times.
  7. Board members shall maintain desirable relationships with the Superintendent and the staff by:
    1. Employing the best professional leader available as Superintendent.
    2. Giving the Superintendent full administrative authority for properly discharging the professional duties of this position and by holding the Superintendent accountable for desired results.
    3. Having the Superintendent present at regular and special meetings of the Board. On rare occasion, the Superintendent may be excused at the discretion of the Board.
    4. Referring complaints to the Superintendent and discussing such complaints at a regular meeting only after failure of administrative solution.
  8. Board members shall meet responsibilities to the community by:
    1. Appraising the present and future educational needs of the community.
    2. Communicating the goals and actions of the Board and District to the community.
    3. Insisting that all District business transactions be conducted on an open, ethical, and above-board basis.
    4. Vigorously seeking financial support for the schools.
    5. Involving the community in the schools and the educational process.
    6. Visiting schools and school functions regularly.
    7. Participating in community events.
  9. Board members shall strive to have meetings conducted in a businesslike manner with appropriate decorum through:
    1. Attending meetings and being prepared to participate.
    2. A well-planned agenda that is adjusted to focus on the Ends.
    3. Keeping discussion centered on the agenda and staying focused on Board business.
    4. Generally holding discussion after a motion and a second, with allowance for each member to speak on each issue.
    5. Balanced participation, with everyone participating and no one dominating.
    6. Sharing viewpoints in a clear, concise manner.
    7. Accomplishing work in an atmosphere of trust and openness, with respect and courtesy.
    8. Taking action at the policy level rather than the operational level.
    9. Monitoring policies to facilitate rigorous accountability and assurance of Superintendent performance.
    10. Supporting the Superintendent’s reasonable interpretation of applicable Board policies, or further clarifying Board intention by revising the policies.
    11. Making decisions based on information garnered from community input, both formal and informal.
  10. The Board will govern lawfully on behalf of students with an emphasis on strategic leadership for the future of Jordan School District through:
    1. Outward vision rather than an internal preoccupation or personal agenda.
    2. Encouragement of diversity in viewpoints.
    3. Strategic leadership more than administrative detail.
    4. Clear distinction of Board and Superintendent roles.
    5. Collective rather than individual decisions.
    6. Future thinking, rather than past or present.
    7. Governing proactively rather than reactively.

Revision history: 6/14/16