A school board agenda should provide more than a list of topics to be discussed in the meeting. An outstanding agenda gives structure to the meeting itself, with time guidelines and orienting information to answer fundamental questions about each topic on the list: (1) What action is to be taken in this meeting on this topic?; (2) What is the history of actions taken on this topic?; and (3) Where is the documentation of past treatment of this topic? Following the template below will turn a school board agenda from good to great.

School Board Agenda Template

HEADING

Name of the School District.

Date. Time. Location.
BODY

I. Call to Order – 4:00 p.m.

General Welcome

Roll Call

[Some districts have the Pledge of Allegiance here.]

II. Consent Agenda – 4:05 p.m. A consent agenda consolidates voting on the minutes of the last meeting and the reports of the committees of the board. The minutes and the committee reports should be pre-distributed on the school board’s website with instructions to read them before the meeting. Do not take up meeting time to read those documents aloud.

Vote on: (1) minutes of the last meeting; and (2) reports of the committees of the board — e.g., Personnel, Finance, Security. Minutes and reports were pre-distributed.

III. Superintendent’s Report – 4:10 p.m.

IV. Business of the Board – 4:30 p.m. Each item in this section must be ushered through the stages of discussion, motion and votes. The agenda should clearly indicate if each item is up for preliminary discussion or resumed discussion in light of new information from committee investigation. If the school board needs to vote to approve a measure, that fact should be indicated on the agenda. Some school boards require that votes be taken in a later meeting than those meetings in which they were discussed. Whatever the case, the agenda must clarify the action(s) to be taken on each item. That step alone can turn around low-functioning boards that typically repeat discussions of issues without ever arriving at an action plan.

A. Old Business. These items are taken from past agendas. Any business that was tabled or sent to committee should receive discussion here. Any business that was discussed but not voted on should be up for a vote here.

  1. Item a. Discuss (history of board action on issue and location of related
    documents)
  2. Item b. Vote (history of board action on issue and location of related
    documents)
  3. Item c. Vote (history of board action on issue and location of
    related documents)

B. New BusinessThese items have not appeared on previous agendas. Most will be at the discussion stage. Some boards allow them to proceed from discussion to vote within a single meeting.

  1. Item a. Discuss
  2. Item b. Discuss
  3. Item c. Discuss and vote.

V. Public Testimonies – 5:00 p.mIf the public is invited to meetings and permitted to speak, pre-registration to speak on specific topics can keep mayhem at bay. This section of the agenda then looks like this:

  • Speaker 1 – Topic 1
  • Speaker 2 – Topic 2
  • Speaker 3 – Topic 3

CLOSE

VI. Adjournment – 5:30 p.m.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Following this skeleton guide, then a school board might arrive at a completed agenda that looks like this one:

AGENDA

April 4, 2018, 4:00 p.m.

Regular Board Meeting

Punxsutawney School District

Board of Directors

I. Call to Order – 4:00 p.m.
      A. General Welcome to Audience
      B. Announcements

  • District was awarded State Foreign Language Grant to develop German curriculum.
  • Governor appointed Herman Bezanski new legislative liaison for education officials.

      C. Roll Call

II. Consent Agenda – 4:05 p.m.

Vote to approve:

  1. Minutes of March meeting
  2. Finance Committee Report
  3. Curriculum Committee Report
  4. Security Committee Report
  5.  Minutes and reports posted on board portal with agenda 3/10/18.)

III. Superintendent’s Report – 4:10 p.m.

IV. Business Action Items – 4:30 p.m.

      A. Old Business

  1. Revision to School Board Policy 537: All-Day Kindergarten. (Vote) Approval of this item would amend Board Policy No. 537 to bring policy into compliance with state law requiring free kindergarten to be extended to full-day service. (Discussion concluded during March 10, 2018, meeting. State law and district’s Policy 537 are posted on the board portal under “Legislation.”)
  2. High School Repaving Authorization. (Vote) Approval of this item would authorize the Superintendent to solicit bids for repaving of the high school parking lot, with a project budget of $90,000. (Sent to committee February 3, 2018. Committee report was reviewed during March 10, 2018, meeting, and is posted on the board portal under “Facilities Issues.”)

      B. New Business – 5:00

  1. Proposal to Authorize Nutrition Assessment of School Cafeterias: (Introduction and discussion). This policy would authorize the Superintendent to hire an outside nutritionist to audit the cafeterias’ nutritional quality and issue recommendations. The budget and source of funds are yet to be determined.
  2. Proposal to Extend School Year by Eight Days. (Discussion) Pursuant to the consultants’ report submitted December 2017, the Board will discuss the feasibility and advisability of extending the school calendar by eight working days. (Final version of consultant’s report is posted on school board portal under “Policies and Procedures.”)

V. Public Testimonies – 5:15 p.m.

  • Abdul Abjeriman: “Early Release Time Poses Hardship for Working Parents”
  • Yvette Cordoissier: “Lax Foreign Language Requirements Don’t Prepare Graduates for College”
  • Martina Fernandez: “Cuts to Athletic Program Are the Best Way to Rein in Spending”

VI. Adjournment – 6:00 p.m.

With such an agendaa meeting is destined to cover virtually all the business facing the district, moving each issue closer to completion. A fully informed board and audience will give needed attention to each issue before them, neither suppressing discussion nor losing control as bellicose participants try to derail the conversation. Following this detailed template will bring your school board agenda to the next level of mastery.