BSCO's Board to Revise Bylaws and Handbook

BSCO's Board has decided that the current Bylaws and Board Handbook are out-of-date. Neither have been updated since Bonny Slope Elementary was opened in 2008. The Board is seeking 2-3 community members to help with this process, which will require a time commitment of 2-3 hours per month. If you are interested, please contact BSCO’s Secretary, Elia Freedman.

The Board hopes to have an initial draft prepared by January’s Winter Community Meeting and the final document ready to be voted on at May 2017’s Spring Community Meeting.

Several factors influenced this decision.  As the Board referenced its governing documents throughout the year, it became obvious that an update was necessary. In some cases requirements are no longer applicable, such as having a Parliamentarian as a member of the Board.  

Another factor is the lack of voting thresholds and length of notice for fiscal expenditures.  BSCO has long held to unwritten standards when it comes to voting on unbudgeted items such as giving 30 days notice for a vote over $1,500.  However, these are not explicitly stated anywhere in BSCO’s current bylaws or Board Handbook.

The Board Handbook, a more informal summary of the bylaws, uses more user-friendly language to describe day-to-day governing details.  However, there is no stated process of ratifying this document with the general membership, allowing the Board unfiltered access to modify many policies at will.

We expect that most of the documents will persist. The current bylaws and Board Handbook, for instance, include viable and important standards such as term limits, voting rights and a required annual meeting.

“We won’t be starting from scratch, but rather tweaking the documents and closing loopholes that exist. Our focus is to strike the balance – make them flexible enough to adapt as our organization evolves, but tight enough to hold our Board and organization to a solid, safe standard through specific and reasonable internal controls,” said Hannah Donohue, BSCO President.

Because the Board intends to take several months to draft a final copy, BSE parents can expect regular updates on the progress.  The Board is currently seeking 2-3 community members who would be willing to serve on this important committee.  The time commitment would be 2-3 hours a month and would include researching other PTO governing documents and providing input on proposed revisions.  Please contact Elia Freedman if you are interested.

“Legal documents are designed to protect the organization,” said Freedman, BSCO’s Secretary. “While it is hard to imagine one of our own twisting this organization to his or her own ends or absconding with money intended for our students, the reality is today it is all too easy to do both with our current documents. This type of work isn’t glamorous, but it is necessary. I’m proud that we are making it a priority this year.”