Board Member Comment on DACs
At the last Board of Education meeting, the Board took action to update, clarify, and add specificity to our policy on District Advisory Committees, or DACs. One of the actions was to delete the phrase "assisting in the overall planning of the educational program and of budget resources" from the list of DAC responsibilities. Our objective was to clarify DACs’ roles and responsibilities, and not to diminish them in any way. Unfortunately, our action has been mischaracterized in a local newspaper, and this has led to a misunderstanding of what we were trying to accomplish. We recognize the impact of this misrepresentation of our intentions and the impact this may have on our valued community volunteers. We sincerely apologize for that misrepresentation.
We apologize that we did not act immediately to correct the factual inaccuracies & misrepresentations that occurred in the local newspaper.
We want to underscore that absolutely nothing has changed regarding our overall philosophy on public input, or the essence of our DAC policy. This Board has always believed—and continues to believe—that public input is essential to the running of our public school district and to the Board’s decision-making process. We remain firmly committed to soliciting input from the public and have taken steps to increase this input by doubling the number of times DACs report to us during the year. We respect the extraordinary value of our DACs, and value their advice and recommendations enormously. We realize that without this collaborative process with our community members, it would be impossible for us to achieve the level of excellence in education that we are so proud of in our district.
I now want to take a minute to set the record straight on the reasons for our action.
At our December 8th meeting, the Board of Education discussed our DAC policy. As part of the discussion, we reviewed the responsibilities of the DACs and discussed the role and responsibilities of district staff, with the goal of making the differences between staff and DACs clear and explicit. We also noted that DACs are requested to provide input with respect to their specific areas of expertise—e.g., fine arts, technology, etc.—and not with respect to the Districts’ entire educational program. We realized that the language "assisting in the overall planning of the educational program and of budget resources" could be misunderstood on both counts. Our credentialed staff performs this role. Therefore, we proposed deleting that particular phrase. As mentioned previously, our only purpose was to clarify DACs’ roles and responsibilities, not to diminish them in any way. The revised DAC policy, which we approved at our meeting of January 5th, clearly and unequivocally states that the Board seeks advice and input from the DACs—including advice and input on educational programs. This information contributes enormously to our ability to make good decisions. In fact, we frequently and explicitly request DAC input on programs and budgets related to their advisory capacity.
The Board strives to build consensus in the community and to create a forum for effective public input through our DACs. We would like to publicly thank all DAC members for their extraordinary work and for their commitment to our District and to our students. We look forward to continuing our strong and collaborative partnership with all of our District Advisory Committees.