Administrative Procedure 110

SCHOOL COUNCILS

Background

The School Council is a legislated structure – a forum for parents and community members to participate, in an advisory capacity, in their local, school-based decision-making processes. The Division values and encourages parental and community involvement in its schools. In accordance with the legislation, each school shall have a school council organized and functioning.

Legislation created school councils, but it cannot make them work. That is up to the members, including parents, staff, principals, school boards and, in some cases, students. The experience of members, the leadership of the Principal and Chair and the goals of the group play a role in defining the discussions and the level of involvement of a school council. The means by which a school council defines its meaningful involvement is up to each school council.

There are different levels of involvement for school councils. It is suggested that school councils decide on their preferred level of involvement at the first school council meeting of the year. See: Alberta School Council Resource Guide.

Procedures

  1. Duties of Principal
    1. Each Principal shall ensure that the incoming School Council executive has a current updated version of the Alberta School Council Resource Manual, and shall review annually with the School Council:
      1. Alberta School Council Resource Manual;
      2. Administrative Procedure 110 – School Councils;
      3. School policies (local);
      4. School Council bylaws (local);
      5. The school's combined Three-Year Education Plan/Annual Education Results Report (AERR).

  2. School Council Membership
    1. A school council must include the following members:
      1. The Principal of the school;
      2. At least one (1) person who is a teacher at the school, elected or appointed by the teachers at the school;
      3. If the school includes a senior high school program, at least one (1) person who is a student enrolled in the high school, elected or appointed by the students enrolled in the high school. In addition, if the school includes a junior high school program, the council may consider including a student representative.
      4. The majority of the members of a school council shall be parents of students enrolled in the school.
    2. The members of a school council may establish a process to appoint as members of the school council one (1) or more persons who are not parents of students enrolled in the school but who have an interest in the school.
    3. The members of a school council may establish a process to appoint or elect as members of the school council one (1) or more persons who are parents of children enrolled in an Early Childhood Services program at the school.

  3. Responsibilities of the Board
    1. The Board shall provide insurance indemnifying school councils from liability and damages.

  4. Duty to report to the Board
    1. The Chair of a school council must prepare and provide to the Board by September 30 of each year a report:
      1. Summarizing the activities of the school council in the previous school year, and
      2. Including a financial statement relating to money handled by the school council in the previous school year, if any, and how the funds were used.
    2. A school council must retain at the school a copy of the minutes for each meeting of the school council and make them available to the Board or the public on request.
    3. A school council must retain the minutes for each meeting of the school council for at least seven (7) years.

  5. Date for first meeting of School Council
    1. For any school year, the first meeting of the school council must be held within twenty (20) school days after the start of the school year, or as specified in the bylaws of the school council.

  6. School Council Meetings
    1. The school council will meet a minimum of seven (7) times during the school year. Suggested models for school councils are:
      1. Representative governance model – when the school council acts like a board of directors to conduct the day-to-day business and reports back to the wider school community two (2) or more times a year.
      2. Assembly/town hall model – most decisions are made at regular, open meetings of the entire school community and the executive members of the school council act only to carry out the wishes of the assembly.
    2. Roles and responsibilities of school council members may be found in section 3 of the Alberta School Council Resource Manual.

  7. Suspension of a School Council
    1. If a quorum is not available for a meeting of a school council and the meeting has been re-scheduled on two (2) or more occasions, the Board may suspend the operation of the school council until the following year.
    2. If the operation of a school council is suspended, the Principal may establish an advisory committee to carry out one (1) or more of the duties or functions of the school council until a new school council is established.
    3. If the operation of a school council is suspended, a new school council must be established within forty (40) school days after the start of the next school year.

  8. School Council Establishment Meeting
    1. If a school that is required to have a school council has no school council, the school must hold an establishment meeting within forty (40) school days after the start of the school year.
    2. A notice of establishment meeting must be given by the Principal to the following persons:
      1. A parent of each student enrolled in the school;
      2. A parent of each child enrolled in an Early Childhood program at the school;
      3. The school staff;
      4. Other members of the school community who, in the principal's opinion, are to be given notice.
    3. A notice must:
      1. Describe the purpose of the meeting;
      2. Set out the time, date and location of the meeting;
      3. Be given at least ten (10) school days before the date of the meeting and either:
        1. Be posted in two (2) or more locations that are accessible to the public; or

  9. Parent Advisory Committee
    1. The Principal may establish an advisory committee if:
      1. There are fewer than five (5) parents in attendance at an establishment meeting; or
      2. If an establishment meeting is not successful in establishing a school council, the Principal may establish an advisory committee for that year to carry out one (1) or more of the duties or functions of a school council.

  10. School Council Executive
    1. A school council must have a Chair and any other members of the executive as determined by the persons attending an establishment meeting.
    2. A parent of a student enrolled in the school must be elected Chair of the executive.
    3. A member who is not a parent may be elected Chair of the executive if no parent is willing to be nominated as Chair.
    4. Every member of a school council is eligible to be elected as a member of the executive.

  11. Fundraising
    1. Fundraising societies are groups of people who have incorporated under the Societies Act or Part 9 of the Companies Act. Under current legislation, school councils may fundraise but cannot register as fundraising societies. (Section 2, Alberta School Council Resource Manual)
      1. However, members may serve on both school council and fundraising societies.
      2. Meetings may be held one after another, as long as minutes and records are kept separately.
    2. Fundraising has always been used by schools to provide extra services and activities, such as additional playground equipment, field trips, and sports uniforms. Fundraising is used for the extras that parents and staff want for their school.
    3. Fundraising shall not be used for core items. 

Appendix

Alberta School Council Resource Guide

Forms

School Council Annual Report Form

Reference

Section 33,52,53,55,197,222,251 Education Act

School Councils Regulation AR 113/2007

School Council Resource Guide (2016)

School Councils Handbook (1999)

Societies Act

 

Approved: November 14, 1995

Amended: April 18, 2002; January 16, 2008; August 21, 2018; October 2, 2019