The role of the trustee is to contribute to the Board as it carries out its mandate in order to achieve its mission and goals. The oath of office taken by each trustee when he or she assumes office binds that person to work diligently and faithfully in the cause of education.
The Board is a corporation. The decisions of the Board in a properly constituted meeting are those of the corporation. A trustee who is given corporate authority to act on behalf of the Board by means of written policy or resolution may carry out duties individually, but only as an agent of the Board. In such cases, the actions of the trustee are those of the Board, which is then responsible for them. A trustee acting individually has only the authority and status of any other citizen of the Division.
Specific Responsibilities of Individual Trustees
The trustee shall:
- Become familiar with Division policies and procedures, meeting agendas, and reports in order to participate in Board business.
- Become familiar with all matters affecting the operation of the Division’s schools.
- Refer queries, or issues and problems not covered by Board policy, to the Board for corporate discussion and decision.
- Refer administrative matters to the Superintendent.
- Assist the Superintendent with counsel and advice, giving the benefit of the trustee’s judgment, business experience and familiarity with the community.
- Participate in, and contribute to, the decisions of the Board in order to provide the best solutions possible for the education of children within the Division.
- Support the decisions of the Board.
- When delegated individual responsibility by the Board, will exercise such authority within the defined limits in a responsible and effective way.
- Participate in Board/trustee development so the quality of leadership and service in the Division can be enhanced.
- Share the materials and ideas gained with fellow trustees at the Board meeting immediately following a trustee development activity.
- Stay current with respect to educational issues and trends
- Contribute to a positive learning and working culture both within the Board and the Division.
- Become familiar with, and adhere to, the Trustee Code of Conduct.
- Interpret the needs of the community to the Division and the Division’s actions to those we serve.
- Respectfully bring forward and advocate for local issues and concerns prior to a Board decision.
- The trustee, upon receiving a complaint or an inquiry from a parent, staff member or community member about operations, will refer the parent, staff member or community member back to the staff member responsible (e.g. teacher, Principal or department) and will inform the Superintendent or designate of this action.
- Keep the Superintendent and the Board informed in a timely manner of all matters coming to his/her attention that might affect the Division. Personnel matters are to be brought to the attention of the Superintendent only.
- Attend Board meetings, and committee meetings as assigned, prepared to participate in, and contribute to, the decisions of the Board in order to provide the best solutions possible for education within the Division.
- Recognize his/her fiduciary responsibility to the Division and act in the best interests of the Division understanding that Division needs are paramount.
- Vote on every Board motion, unless there is a conflict of interest.
- Support a majority vote of the Board as if the vote had been unanimous.
- Liaise with designated School Council(s).
- Report any violation of the Trustee Code of Conduct to the Board Chair or, where applicable, to the Vice-Chair.
As a result of elections, the Board may experience changes in membership. To ensure continuity and facilitate smooth transition from one Board to the next following an election, trustees must be adequately briefed concerning existing Board policy and practice, statutory requirements, initiatives, and long-range plans.
The Board believes an orientation program is necessary for effective trusteeship. The Board also recognizes the importance of a trustee gaining a thorough understanding of his or her governance role and that there is value in a newly elected board meeting as a collective to undergo governance training. In order to procure a mutual and united perspective of governance roles, and to obtain a common understanding through training and open discussion, following an election, all trustees are required to complete a governance training orientation provided by the ASBA, or another board-approved source. All trustees shall attend all aspects of the orientation program. This governance training must be completed no later than 3 months following an election. trustees are expected to attend all aspects of the orientation program.
- The Division will provide an orientation program for all trustees that provides information on:
- Role of the trustee and the Board;
- Board policy, agendas, and minutes;
- Organizational structures and procedures of the Division;
- Existing Division initiatives, annual reports, budgets, financial statements, and long-range plans;
- Division programs and services;
- Board’s function as an appeal body; and
- Statutory and regulatory requirements, including responsibilities with regard to conflict of interest, freedom of information.
- The orientation program may also include:
- A tour of the offices and the opportunity to meet Division Office staff.
- A tour of the schools and the opportunity to meet the principals and staff.
- The Board Chair and Superintendent are responsible for ensuring the development and implementation of the Division’s orientation program for trustees. The Superintendent shall provide each trustee with access to the references listed in Policy 3 Appendix at the organizational meeting following a general election or at the first regular meeting of the Board following a by-election.
- The Division will provide support within the Board governance budget for trustees attending provincial association-sponsored orientation seminars.
- Incumbent trustees are encouraged to help newly elected trustees become informed about history, functions, policies, procedures, and issues.
Section 60, 61, 68, 72, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 246 School Act
Approved: August 21, 2018
Reviewed: October 10, 2019
Updated: April 8, 2020