Brief Explanation of School Site Council
More specifics from the California Department of Education Handbook Roles and Responsibilities
The California Education Code requires the school site council to develop a Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) for Consolidated Application programs operated at the school. The stated purpose of the SPSA is to "improve the academic performance of all pupils to the level of the performance goals, as established by the Academic Performance Index." The Academic Performance Index (API) is a rating of schools based on their performance on state assessments. The content of the plan must be aligned with school goals for improving student achievement. School goals must be based upon "an analysis of verifiable state data, including the Academic Performance Index…and the English Language Development test…and may include any data voluntarily developed by districts to measure pupil achievement…"
The council must recommend the proposed plan to the local governing board for approval, monitor its implementation, and evaluate the results. At least annually, the council must revise and recommend the plan, including proposed expenditures of all funds allocated to the school through the Consolidated Application, to the local governing board for approval.
The plan must be developed with the advice, review and certification of any applicable school advisory committees. Such groups include the English Learner Advisory Committee, the State Compensatory Education Advisory Committee, the Special Education Advisory Committee, the Gifted and Talented Education Advisory Committee, and the School Health Council. All required advisory committees have responsibility to advise the school on the special needs of students, and on ways the school may meet those needs.
The local governing board (PUSD School Board) adopts policies for the development and implementation of the Single Plan for Student Achievement. Acting upon the recommendation of the council, the board approves or disapproves the plan and all subsequent revisions. The plan must have board approval before expenditures proposed in the plan may be made. The board must also certify that school plans are consistent with local educational agency plans required for federal funding.
The local superintendent of schools or designee administers the Consolidated Application. The district and school administration, which may include appointed school leadership teams, is responsible for implementing the school plan. Administration of the plan includes assigning and supervising project staff, purchasing materials and equipment, and accounting for project funds. The administration may also support the planning process by providing training and information to the council, by gathering information or developing proposals for the council’s consideration.
Composition and Selection/Election of Members
Composition of the school site council is specified in the California Education Code as follows: "The council shall be composed of the principal and representatives of: teachers selected by teachers at the school; other school personnel selected by other school personnel at the school; parents of pupils attending the school selected by such parents; and, in secondary schools, pupils selected by pupils attending the school. "At the elementary level the council shall be constituted to ensure parity between (a) the principal, classroom teachers and other school personnel; and (b) parents or other community members selected by parents.”
The means of selecting council members are not specified in law, except members are to be chosen by peers. Membership in most school site councils is determined by ballot, but could be decided in an open meeting by voice vote. No membership qualifications are given in law. To ensure broad support for the selection process, and to avoid controversy over the selection of council members, board policy or council bylaws should specify:
- The means of selection of members and officers
- Terms of office for members and officers
- The notice of elections for each peer group
- The responsibilities of the council and time commitment involved
- A policy of non-discrimination, as may occur by limiting membership to a select group
Many districts elect members for a two-year term, with elections for half the members held in even years and half in odd years. This practice ensures that the council will not be composed entirely of new members each year. Some districts assure additional continuity by electing non-voting alternate members, who become voting members in the event of a mid-term vacancy on the council.
School Site councils must operate according to the following rules:
- Meetings must be open to the public
- The public may address the council on any item within jurisdiction of the council
- Notice of the meeting must be posted at the school site or other accessible place at least 72 hours before the meeting
- The notice must specify the date, time, and place of the meeting and the agenda
- The council cannot act on an item not described on the posted agenda unless, by unanimous vote, it finds a need for action unknown when the agenda was posted
- Questions and brief statements of no impact on pupils or employees that can be resolved by providing information need not be described on the posted agenda
- If these procedures are violated, upon demand of any person, the council must reconsider the item at its next meeting, after allowing for public input on the item