Each local and regional board of education in Connecticut is responsible for providing the best possible education to all its students. Boards and their administrators must make complex decisions which respond to the needs of the entire academic community, the best educational practices and theories, and state and federal laws. The school district cannot function effectively within these constraints unless it operates from the basis of sound, carefully deliberated policy.
The Policies, Regulations and Bylaws Manual has been developed specifically for the Middletown Board of Education to help carry out these important responsibilities. This Manual has been converted to electronic format and is available in the Policies & Bylaws section of this website. The manual is only useful as long as it is up-to-date. Updating is a continuous process.
Policies and administrative procedures have been organized in this manual into eight series or categories, including a category dealing with board bylaws. The eight series dealing with the operation of the school system are codified as follows:
Some Helpful Definitions
Explicit in the title of this manual is the fact that the publication deals with policies, administrative regulations and bylaws. Basic to the successful functioning of a school board is its ability to separate between what is policy and what is administrative procedure. The following definitions may be instructive.
It may be helpful to think of a Policy as a guide that permits others a degree of discretion in decision making. A policy must be written. It is not enough that the minutes reflect policy. Policy must be available to the public.
The idea for policy can come from any number of sources. Perhaps the best source is to be found in the dynamic interaction between the board and the superintendent. However, there are many other legitimate and valuable sources. Teachers work with students continually. Their insights about what needs to happen in your schools are vital in policy development. Parents, community members, state and federal governments, other school district employees, and media, all are possible sources of policy. But the board, and only the board, has the responsibility for approving policy and monitoring its implementation.
A Regulation or rule is a specific statement of something that must be done. Typically, it also tells who is going to do it and when. Formulating regulations is the superintendent's job. It is how the superintendent will carry out the intention of the board as stated in policy.
One of the best ways of defining the difference between the policy and regulation is to discuss the issue with the superintendent. There are no clear cut, hard-and-fast definitions. Discussions between the board and the superintendent are always helpful in supporting everyone's best efforts.
A Bylaw is a rule governing the board of education's internal operation. Bylaws keep the board in line. Reasonable bylaws build stability into operations of the board and if observed - even under pressure - may prevent the board from making decisions that they might regret later.
Some final comments on Policy
Only the board has the right and responsibility to adopt policy.
Policy development is never complete. Policy must be reviewed regularly and the board needs to be open to careful review and change of existing policies.
The board should never make policy under pressure.
The actual act of writing policy is a job for one person. A committee cannot actually write policy.
When in doubt, talk with an attorney. Your policies may be legally binding.
The development of policy is one of the most important responsibilities of boards of education.