Doing What’s Best for Kids

Policy 7: Board Operations

The Board’s ability to discharge its obligations in an efficient and effective manner is dependent upon the development and implementation of a sound organization design. In order to discharge its responsibilities to the electorate of the Division, the Board shall hold meetings as often as necessary. A quorum, which is a simple majority of the number of Trustees, must be present for every duly constituted meeting. The Board has adopted policies so the business of the Board can be conducted in an orderly and efficient manner.

The Board’s fundamental obligation is to preserve, if not enhance, the public trust in education, generally, and in the affairs of its operations in particular. Consistent with its objective to encourage the general public to contribute to the educational process, Board meetings will be open to the public. Towards this end, the Board believes its affairs must be conducted in public to the greatest extent possible. No person will be excluded from the meeting except for improper conduct.  Attacks on personal character or performance of any individual or disruptive remarks will be ruled out of order and persistence in such remarks or conduct shall cause the individual to be excluded from the meeting room. 

There are times when public interest is best served by private discussion of specific issues during "closed sessions". The Board believes it is necessary to protect individual privacy and the Board's own position in negotiating either collective agreements or contracts and therefore expects to go in-camera for issues dealing with individual students, individual employees, land, labour, legal, or negotiation.

Presentations at Board meetings by members of the public, and students can enhance the public interest.

  1. Elections
    The McMurray School District 2833 was formed Sept 25, 1912. From 1961-1969 the District was amalgamated under the Northland School Division. Fort McMurray Public School District #2833 was formed May 22, 1969 when approval was received to become independent of the Northlands School Division. The approval further indicated there was to be a Board comprised of seven Trustees. By Ministerial Order, the Fort McMurray Public School District #2833 was renamed to the Fort McMurray School Division in September 2019. All Trustees are elected at large. The provisions of the Local Authorities Election Act respecting the election of Trustees shall apply to every election.
  2. Organizational Meeting
    1. An Organizational Meeting of the Board shall be held annually, and no later than four (4) weeks following Election Day, when there has been a general election. The first official meeting of the Board following a general election shall be an Organizational Meeting.
    2. The Organizational Meeting during a non-election year will be held in the month of June.
    3. The Associate Superintendent, Business and Finance, will give notice of the Organizational Meeting to each Trustee as if it were a special meeting. The Associate Superintendent, Business and Finance or designate shall call the meeting to order and act as Chair of the meeting for the purpose of the election of the Board Chair.
    4. Each Trustee will take the oath of office or make an affirmation immediately following the call to order of the Organizational Meeting after a general election. Special provisions will be made for a Trustee taking office following a by-election.
    5. Upon election as Chair, the Board Chair shall take the oath of office or make an affirmation and preside over the remainder of the Organizational Meeting. The Board Chair shall normally be elected for a period of one (1) year.
    6. The organizational meeting shall, in addition:
      1. Elect a Vice-Chair;
      2. Establish a schedule (date, time, and place) for regular meetings.
      3. Create such standing or ad hoc committees of the Board as deemed appropriate, and appoint members;
      4. Appoint Board representation on the various Boards or committees of organizations or agencies where the Board has regular representation, as appropriate;
      5. Review Trustee conflict of interest stipulations and determine any disclosure of information requirements; and
      6. Address other organizational items as required.
  3. Regular MeetingsRegular Board meeting dates and times shall be as established at the beginning of, or prior to, each new school year. The Board may by resolution, alter the schedule and/or meeting location in such a manner as it deems appropriate and give notice of the change.
    1. Meetings will ordinarily be held at the Division office located at 231 Hardin Street. Time, date and location shall be posted on the Division website.
    2. Notwithstanding the schedule established at the Organizational Meeting, the Board may, by resolution, alter the schedule in such manner, as it deems appropriate.
    3. All Trustees shall notify the Board Chair if they are unable to attend a Board meeting.
    4. All Trustees who are absent from three (3) consecutive regular meetings shall:
      1. Obtain authorization by resolution of the Board to do so; or
      2. Provide to the Board Chair evidence of illness in the form of a medical certificate respecting the period of absence.
      3. Failure to attend may result in a deduction in remuneration and/or disqualification.
    5. If both the Board Chair or Vice-Chair through illness or other cause are unable to perform the duties of the office or are absent, the Board shall appoint from among its members an acting Board Chair, who on being so appointed has all the powers and shall perform all the duties of the Board Chair during the Board Chair and Vice-Chair’s inability to act or absence.
    6. Regular meetings of the Board will not be held without the Superintendent and/or designate(s) in attendance unless the Superintendent’s contract is being discussed.
  4. Special Meetings
    1. Occasionally, unanticipated or emergent issues require immediate Board attention and/or action.
    2. Special meetings of the Board will only be called when the Board Chair, the majority of Trustees, or the Minister is of the opinion that an issue must be dealt with before the next regular Board meeting.
    3. A written notice of the special meeting including date, time, place and nature of business shall be issued to all Trustees electronically at least two (2) days prior to the date of the meeting unless every Trustee agrees to waive in writing the requirements for notice.
    4. The nature of the business to be transacted must be clearly specified in the notice of the meeting. Unless all Trustees are present at the special meeting, no other business may be transacted. Items can be added to the agenda only by the unanimous consent of the entire Board.
    5. Special meetings of the Board shall be open to the public recognizing that specific agenda matters may be held in a closed session.
    6. Special meetings of the Board will not be held without the Superintendent and/or designate(s) in attendance unless the Superintendent’s contract is being discussed.
  5. Closed SessionsThe Education Act uses the term “private” for non-public meetings. Robert’s Rules of Order uses the term “executive session” for the same distinction. The term “closed session” is most commonly used and is synonymous with the other two terms. The preservation and enhancement of the public’s trust in the educational system is an important priority of the Board. The Board believes that public trust is preserved by conducting open Board meetings. Notwithstanding this belief, occasionally matters of unusual sensitivity require the Board to hold closed meetings.
    1. The Board may, by resolution, schedule a closed session meeting at a time or place agreeable to the Board or recess a meeting in progress for the purpose of meeting in a closed session. Such resolutions shall be recorded in the minutes of the Board and shall specify those individuals eligible to attend in addition to Trustees and the Superintendent.
    2. The Board may convene in a closed session only to discuss matters of a sensitive nature, including:
      1. Personnel
        1. Individual students;
        2. Individual employees;
      2. Matters relating to negotiations; Acquisition/disposal of real property;
      3. Litigation brought by or against the Board;
      4. Other topics that a majority of the Trustees present feel should be held in private, in the public interest.
    3. Such sessions shall be closed to the public and press. The Board shall only discuss the matter(s) that gave rise to the closed session meeting. Board members and other persons attending the session shall maintain confidentiality and shall not disclose the details of the discussion at such sessions.
    4. The Board shall, during the closed session, adopt only such resolution as is required to reconvene the Board in an open, public meeting.
  6. Agenda for Regular MeetingsThe Agenda Planning Committee consisting of the Board Chair, Vice Chair, and Superintendent is responsible for preparing an agenda for Board meetings. The Committee will first review the Annual Board Work Plan to ensure items that are scheduled are ready to be placed on the agenda. At times external factors such as changes in budget deadlines set by Alberta Education for example may preclude an item in the Work Plan from being considered at the time indicated in the Plan. All work plan items shall be placed on a Board agenda at some point during the year.
    1. The order of business at a regular meeting shall generally be as follows:
      1. Call to Order
      2. Treaty 8 Lands acknowledgment
      3. O Canada
      4. Evacuations & Emergency procedures (Safety Moment)
      5. Additions and Approval of Regular Agenda
      6. Declaration of Conflict
      7. Approval of Minutes
      8. In-Camera Session (if necessary)
      9. Motion to go into a Closed Session
      10. Approval of Closed Session Agenda (including any proposed additions or deletions)
      11. Motion to conclude Closed Session
      12. Recess
      13. Board Action Items
      14. Board Monthly Work Plan Items
      15. Information Reports
        1. ASBA, PSBAA
        2. Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Associate, Assistant Superintendents
      16. Information and Correspondence
      17. Requests for Information
      18. Recess
      19. Evacuations & Emergency procedures (Safety Moment) reminder
      20. Question period
      21. Spotlight on Students
      22. Division Program Initiative Highlights / Student/ Staff Recognition
      23. Community Partners
      24. Business Arising from Presentations & Delegations at Previous Meetings
      25. Other Business
      26. Future Agenda Items
      27. Adjournment
        Items scheduled for a specific time shall be clearly identified on the agenda.
    2. The agenda will be supported by copies of letters, reports, contracts and other materials as are pertinent to the business that will come before the Board and will be of value to the Board in the performance of its duties. A recommendation from the Superintendent or designate shall normally be included for all action items.
    3. In addition to the items included by the Agenda Planning Committee, items may be placed on the agenda in one (1) of the following ways:
      1. By notifying the Board Chair or Superintendent at least six (6) calendar days prior to the Board meeting.
      2. By notice of motion at the previous meeting of the Board.
      3. As a request from a committee of the Board.
      4. Issues that require Board action may arise after the agenda has been prepared. The Board Chair, at the beginning of the meeting, shall ask for additions to and/or deletions from the agenda prior to agenda approval. Changes to the agenda to accommodate truly emergent items may be made by a majority of those present.
    4. The agenda package, containing the agenda and supporting information, will be provided to each Trustee at least four (4) calendar days prior to the Board meeting. Subsequently, information may be provided at the meeting; and further, the Superintendent or Trustee submitting the item shall advise the Board Chair regarding the emergent nature of such information.
    5. The Board will follow the order of business set by the agenda unless the order is altered or new items are added by agreement of the Board.
    6. During the course of the Board meeting, the Trustees present, with unanimous consent, may amend the agenda and place items before the Board for discussion. The Board may take action on such items.
    7. The list of agenda items shall be posted on the Division website and be available in the Division Office. Any elector may inspect the agenda and request a copy.
  7. Minutes for Regular or Special MeetingsThe Board shall maintain and preserve by means of minutes a record of its proceedings and resolutions.
    1. The minutes shall record:
      1. Date, time and place of meeting;
      2. Type of meeting;
      3. Name of the chair;
      4. Names of those Trustees and senior administration in attendance;
      5. Approval of preceding minutes;
      6. All resolutions, including the Board’s disposition of the same, placed before the Board, are to be entered in full;
      7. Names of persons making the motions;
      8. A brief summary of the circumstances which gave rise to the matter being debated before the Board;
      9. Points of order and appeals;
      10. Appointments;
      11. Receipt of reports of committees;
      12. Recording of the vote on motions as requested;
      13. Trustee declaration of conflict of interest pursuant to the Education Act;
      14. Departure and re-entry times of Trustees and administration; and
      15. The time of adjournment.
    2. The minutes shall:
      1. Be prepared as directed by the Superintendent;
      2. Be reviewed by the Superintendent prior to submission to the Board;
      3. Be considered an unofficial record of proceedings until such time as adopted by a resolution of the Board; and
      4. Upon adoption by the Board, be deemed the official and sole record of the Board’s business.
    3. The Superintendent or designate shall ensure, upon acceptance by the Board, that appropriate initials are affixed to each page of the minutes, and that appropriate signatures are affixed to the last page of the minutes.
    4. The Superintendent or designate will establish and maintain a file of all Board minutes and an index by resolution based on subject.
    5. As part of its ongoing effort to keep staff and the public fully informed concerning its affairs and actions, the Board expects the Superintendent to institute and maintain effective and appropriate procedures for the prompt dissemination of information about decisions made at all Board meetings.
      1. The approved minutes of a regular or special meeting shall be posted to the website as soon as possible following approval. The Superintendent is responsible to post the approved minutes.
  8. Motions
    Motions do not require a seconder.
    1. Notice of Motion
      The notice of motion serves the purpose of officially putting an item on the agenda of the next or future regular meeting and gives notice to all Trustees of the item to be discussed. A notice of motion is not debatable and may not be voted on. A Trustee may present a notice of motion for consideration at the next regular meeting of the Board or may specify another meeting date. A Trustee may also provide the Superintendent with a written notice of motion and ask that it be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting and read at the meeting. The Trustee need not be present during the reading of the motion.
    2. Discussion on Motions
      The custom of addressing comments to the Board Chair is to be followed by all persons in attendance. A Board motion or a recommendation from administration must generally be placed before the Board prior to any discussion-taking place on an issue. Once a motion is before the Board and until it is passed or defeated, all speakers shall confine their remarks to the motion or to the information pertinent to the motion. Motions may be submitted by any Trustee, including the Board Chair.
    3. Separation of Question
      when the question under consideration contains distinct propositions, the vote of each proposition shall be taken separately, should any Trustee so request.
    4. Speaking to the Motion
      The mover of a motion first and every Trustee shall have an opportunity to speak to the motion before any Trustee is allowed to speak a second time. The Board Chair will normally speak just prior to the last speaker who will be the mover of the motion. The mover of the motion is permitted to close debate on the motion. As a general guide, a Trustee is not to speak longer than five (5) minutes on any motion. The Board Chair has the responsibility to limit the discussion by a Trustee when such a discussion is repetitive or digresses from the topic at hand, or where discussion takes place prior to the acceptance of a motion. No one shall interrupt a speaker, unless it is to ask for important clarification of the speaker’s remarks, and any such interruption shall not be permitted without permission of the Board Chair. When a Trustee arrives at the meeting after a motion has been made and prior to taking a vote, the Trustee may request further discussion prior to the vote. The Board Chair shall rule on further discussion.
    5. Reading of the Motion
      A Trustee may require the motion under discussion to be read at any time during the debate, except when a Trustee is speaking.
    6. Required Votes
      The Board Chair, and all Trustees present, unless excused by resolution of the Board or by the provisions of the Education Act, shall vote on each question. Each question shall be decided by a majority of the votes of those Trustees present. A simple majority of a quorum of the Board will decide in favour of the question. In the case of an equality of votes, the question is defeated. A vote on a question shall be taken by open vote, expressed by show of hands, except votes to elect the Board Chair or Vice-Chair which are by secret ballot unless there is unanimous agreement among the Trustees to use a show of hands. When any order resolution or question cannot be put to the Board due to a loss of quorum, the resolution or question shall be dealt with at the next meeting of the Board.
    7. Debate
      In all debate, any matter of procedure in dispute shall be settled, if possible, by reference to in order of priority, the Education Act, Board Policy, and then Robert’s Rules of Order. If this reference is inadequate, the procedure may be determined by a motion supported by the majority of Trustees in attendance.
  9. Delegations or Petitioners at Board Meetings
    The Board believes in an open and transparent process to hear public delegations or petitioners. It is important that presentations occur within set guidelines and in accordance with prescribed procedures. Members of the public attending an open Board meeting as an approved delegation or petitioners will be given an opportunity to ask questions of the Board with respect to the subject of the delegation or petitioners.
    1. Under usual circumstances, the Superintendent or designate seven (7) days in advance of the scheduled Board meeting date must receive a written request for a meeting. The request will outline the essential component of the presentation and will indicate the name(s) of the main presenter(s).
    2. The Agenda Planning Committee, when setting the agenda for each Board meeting together, will consider requests from delegations or petitioners for a meeting with the Board. If a request is accepted, they will determine the most appropriate meeting date and time for the delegation to meet with the Board. A delegation or petitioners will usually be allotted fifteen (15) minutes for its presentation. The Board Chair is authorized to restrict the length of any delegation's or petitioner's presentation at the Chair’s discretion.
      1. In an emergent situation, these actions may be undertaken by the Superintendent and/or the Board Chair.
    3. The delegation or petitioners shall appoint not more than two (2) persons to speak on their behalf at the meeting and respond to questions from the Board. Names and positions of participants shall be provided to the Board.
    4. The Chair shall outline the process and any limitations upon the subject matter that may properly be presented by the delegation or petitioners to the Board.
    5. Delegations or petitioners shall be given a copy of the relevant sections of Policy 7 prior to its presentation.
    6. During the time of a presentation, Trustees may ask questions but will not express judgments concerning issue(s) raised. Normally Trustees will refrain from asking questions or making comments until the delegation or petitioners has completed their presentation. At that time, the Chair shall allow for a maximum of fifteen (15) minutes for Trustee questions or clarification from the delegation or petitioners.
    7. Following a presentation to the Board, any discussions held will be in accordance with Board-approved rules of order and the Board Chair shall ensure the delegation or petitioners maintains appropriate decorum during the meeting with the Board
    8. Any decision or other significant follow-up communication will be transmitted in writing by the Board/designate to the designated spokesperson.
    9. Normally the Board will not meet with an individual or a group of concerned individuals unless the individual or group has attempted first to resolve the difficulty through contact with the Superintendent.
    10. Petitions will be reviewed by the Associate Superintendent of Business and Finance to ensure the petition meets the requirements articulated in the Education Act. 
    11. The Board will administer petitions in compliance with the Education Act.  This includes giving public notice, when and as required under the Act, and in alignment with the Petitions and Public Notice Regulation.  
  10. Question Period
    The Board shall provide an opportunity for those present at any regular public meeting of the Board to ask questions of the Board in a session called Question Period. This will occur in accordance with the following procedures:
    1. Questions must be submitted to the Board Recording Secretary prior to the Call to Order.
    2. Questions concerning issues of a confidential nature will not be entertained. The Board Chair will determine what is/is not confidential.
    3. The Board Chair will determine the appropriateness of the question and will not permit derogatory comments or remarks of a personal nature.
    4. Complaints about Division staff are to be directed to the appropriate supervisor or administrator.
    5. To maintain order and organization at Board meetings, the Board will address only those questions that have been submitted in writing on the form provided. Time for questions and responses will be limited to a maximum of fifteen (15) minutes at each Board meeting.
    6. Questions which cannot be dealt with directly at a meeting will be referred and a response given to the individual submitting the question, either by phone or in writing, within two (2) weeks of the Board meeting.
  11. Audio/Video Recording Devices
    The Board expects that anyone wanting to use recording devices at a public Board meeting shall obtain prior approval of the Board Chair.
  12. Trustee Compensation
    The Board believes every Trustee must be compensated for the time spent and expenses incurred in the performance of their Trusteeship.
    The Board believes knowledgeable and skilled Board members can best discharge their obligations to the electorate and the Board. The Board encourages Trustees to improve their knowledge and understanding of educational matters through attendance at appropriate professional development activities. The Board requires Trustees to exercise wise judgment in the use of Division resources.
    1. Compensation rates will be established effective September 1 of each year but may be adjusted at other times by Board motion. As of March 1, 2020, the monthly honorarium for Chair is $2047.08, for Vice Chair $1990.87, and for other Trustees $1,934.66.
    2. Trustees who are assigned meetings by the Board that regularly take them out of the community; over and above meetings to which all Trustees are invited, will be compensated an additional $60 dollars per day of the meeting.
    3. Each Trustee shall be eligible to receive a “monthly” honorarium to reflect the time spent on Trusteeship.
    4. Increases to the monthly honorarium established in the Trustee budget will be automatically adjusted based on the average of ATA and CUPE September 1 base wage/salary increase.
    5. A Trustee will be deducted $150 dollars from the monthly honorarium of the Trustee for each failure to attend a duly constituted Board meeting (Regular or Organizational) and or Committee of the Whole. A Trustee who is attending to other duties assigned by the Board is excused from attending and will not be deducted. A Trustee who supplies proof of illness for the meeting not attended will not be deducted. A Trustee can make a request to the Board for non-deduction for other reasons (such as immediate family member’s serious illness and bereavement) the request will be accepted or denied by resolution of the Board. To allow for an opportunity to request an excused absence without deduction from their honorarium, any deduction will not occur until after the next regular scheduled Board Meeting.  It is the absent trustee's responsibility to let the Agenda Planning Committee know that they will be requesting a motion for an excused absence with no deduction.  
  13. Expenses will be reimbursed to Trustees for attendance at conferences and conventions outside Fort McMurray.
    1. Travel within Alberta – Trustees, as agreed on by the Board, may attend conferences, conventions, or meetings to conduct Board business and may claim reasonable expenses.
    2. Travel outside Alberta – Trustees, as agreed on by the Board, may attend relevant conferences, conventions, or meetings to conduct Board business and may claim reasonable expenses.
    3. Where no other meal is provided Trustees can claim as per Admin procedure 513 Appendix A: Expense Reimbursement Rates.
    4. Travel and costs, for those approved under 13.1, 13.2, and 13.3 above, to attend ASBA/PSBA and their affiliated committee meetings, negotiations, meetings called by the ministry, and any other meeting deemed necessary by the board will be covered by a pooled budget as agreed by the Board. Travel and costs approved under 13.1, 13.2, and 13.3 above, to attend events such as the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (CAPSLE), Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA), National School Boards Association (NSBA), and other similar conferences and events, will have an individual Trustee budget of $1500 per year that may be carried over for one (1) year to create a maximum of $3,000 in the second year. In year one (1) of a term, a Trustee will have the option of advancing the year two individual allotment. There will be no carry forward from the year prior to an election into the election year.
  14. Reimbursement
    1. Registration fees, subsistence, and accommodation costs shall be reimbursed upon presentation of the relevant expense claim form and receipts for the expenses.
      1. For travel outside Fort McMurray by means of personal vehicles, Trustees shall be reimbursed at the rate established by the Division from time to time.
      2. For travel outside Fort McMurray by aircraft, Trustees shall be reimbursed at airfare cost plus additional cost for vehicle rental or other ground transportation costs.
    2. All reimbursements of expenses of Trustees and Vice Chair other than the Board Chair, and the Trustee selected to approve the Chair’s expenses shall be subject to the submission of an expense claim form signed by the Board Chair. The Board Chair’s expense claim shall be signed by the Trustee selected by the Board. The Vice Chair shall sign the selected Trustee’s expenses and all claims will be submitted, with receipts, to the Associate Superintendent, Business and Finance. Travel, accommodation, meals, incidentals, hospitality, and professional membership claims shall be posted on the Division website for Trustees the month following processing.
    3. Upon request, Trustees will be issued a Division Credit Card to facilitate travel.
    4. Trustees will be provided with a personal computing device.
  15. Trustee Conflict of Interest
    The Trustee is directly responsible to the electorate of the Division and to the Board. Upon election to office and annually thereafter, the Trustee must complete disclosure of personal interest statement and accept a position of public trust. The Trustee is directed to act in a manner, which will enhance the trust accorded the Trustee, and through the Trustee, the trust accorded to the Board. The Board is of the firm conviction that its ability to discharge its obligations is dependent upon the trust and confidence of the electorate in its Board and in its Trustee members. Therefore, the Board believes in the requirement to declare a conflict of interest.
    1. The Trustee is expected to be conversant with the relevant sections (85 to 96) of the Education Act regarding conflict of interest.
    2. The Trustee is responsible for declaring him/herself to be in a possible conflict of interest.
      1. The Trustee shall make such declaration in an open meeting prior to Board or committee discussion of the subject matter, which may place the Trustee in conflict of interest.
      2. Following the declaration of conflict of interest by a Trustee, all debate and action shall cease until the Trustee has left the room.
    3. It shall be the responsibility of the Trustee in conflict to absent him/herself from the meeting in accordance with the requirements of the Education Act and ensure that his/her declaration and absence is properly recorded within the minutes.
    4. The recording secretary will record in the minutes:
      1. The Trustee’s declaration;
      2. The Trustee’s abstention from the debate and the vote; and
      3. That the Trustee left the room in which the meeting was held.