The Waterloo School Board took a look at a pair of policies directly relating to the board members during a special June 23 meeting. Policy 161 outlines board member authority and responsibility and Policy 165 is a code of ethics for board members.
President Nancy Thompson felt board members had been acting in violation of these policies.
“I don’t know if that bothers people or not,” she said, specifically noting section 4 of 165: “Refraining from making disparaging remarks in public about school personnel or other Board members;” and section 7 of the same policy: “Recognizing that actions of the Board remain in effect until modified. Even though a Board member might not have individually supported a motion, he/she must support the action of the majority in his/her capacity as a Board member.”
Thompson also pointed out section 4 of Policy 161: “Respect the opinions of other board members, conform to the principle of majority rule, and promote the implementation of decisions made by the Board of Education.”
Board member Charlie Crave said he didn’t feel the board had been in violation of Policy 161, section 4. He said members may not always agree with what was decided but feels they do their best to respect the opinions of fellow board members and conform to the majority rule.
“It’s one thing to go along with it, it’s another thing to promote it,” Crave said. “It we start working on this too hard, the intention can become so muddled that we become buried in policy.”
Thompson said the board members do not always need to agree and pointed out it’s good to not always agree because it’s important to have diverse viewpoints, but she would like to see a high-functioning board who can hold each other accountable on the policies set forth.
Board member Matt Schneider said reading the policies served as a great reminder of what the board should be doing. He said it was important for the board to follow its policies if the public is expected to follow policies set forth by the board, like those for public comment during meetings.
“If the board can’t be unified, it can be very challenging for us to stay true to why we are here and that’s to benefit the students. If the vote doesn’t go your way, the board decides what the board decides. We all have the ability to follow policy. And yes, we’re also human,” Schneider said. “But, when we get into an issue that is very polarizing… being a united front not only as a board but also with our administration is very important in my opinion. We need everyone working and the horses pulling in the same direction.”
He did not feel anything in the policies need to be changed but the board could do a better job adhering to the policies.