The School Board of Miami-Dade County
Bylaws & Policies
Unless a specific policy has been amended and the date the policy was revised is noted at the bottom of that policy, the Bylaws and Policies of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools were adopted on May 11, 2011 and were in effect beginning July 1, 2011.
 

0140 - MEMBERSHIP

0141

Number

   
 

The School Board shall consist of nine (9) members.

   
 

All members shall be elected by single member districts.

   
 

Each member of the Board shall serve as the representative of the entire District, rather than as the representative of a district school board member residence area.

   

0141.1

Student Advisor to the School Board

   
 

The student advisor shall be elected by the Miami-Dade County Association of Student Government Presidents. The Curriculum and Instruction Department will provide the new student advisor materials on the functions of the School Board and its role in the school system.

   
 

Eligibility

   
 

A.

Must have attended a minimum of two (2) regularly scheduled monthly meetings of the Miami-Dade County Student Government Association during the prior school year;

     
 

B.

Must have maintained and continue to maintain an unweighted minimum grade point average of 3.0, have no "F"s as final grades, and no conduct grade below a "C;"

     
 

C.

Must be able to take an Executive Internship with the advisor to the Miami-Dade County Student Government Association during the school year.

     
 

Duties

   
 

A.

Serve as official liaison between the Board and the students enrolled in the District;

     
 

B.

Act as a public representative of the students of the District at various conferences, meetings, and ceremonies;

 

C.

Attend as many monthly Board meetings as possible and sit on the dais;

     
 

D.

Attend Miami-Dade County Student Government and Executive Board meetings;

     
 

E.

Read, research, and obtain answers to questions related to Board agenda items; and

     
 

F.

Review publications and disseminate information regarding items of interest to the student population.

     
 

Orientation

   
 

Following the election of the Student Advisor, the Student Advisor will meet with:

   
 

A.

the Board members and their administrative assistants on an individual basis to discuss their perceptions of the role of the Student Advisor;

     
 

B.

the Superintendent and senior staff to obtain an understanding of the organization of the school system;

     
 

C.

other staff members based upon the recommendation of the Board members, the Superintendent, and the administrative assistants to obtain an in-depth understanding of the various departments and offices; and

     
 

D.

individual senior high school student councils in order to obtain an understanding of their ideas and concerns. Schools in each region should be visited on a rotating basis.

     

0141.2

Conflict of Interest

   
 

School Board members are governed by the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, Part III of F.S. Chapter 112 and by other statutes in the school code. Board members and the Superintendent shall participate in four (4) hours of ethics training each calendar year as specified by law (F.S. 112.3145, C.O.E. 34-7.0251)

 

The following is a summary of the statutory mandates. They are not definitive rules and the statute must be consulted for applicable definitions and for exemptions.

   
 

A.

Standards of Conduct

     
 

1.

Gifts

     
   

No Board member may either solicit or accept anything of value - including a gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor, or service - that is based on any understanding that the vote, official action, or judgment of the Board member would be influenced by such gift.

     
   

F.S. 112.313(2)

     
 

2.

Other Prohibited Gifts

     
   

No Board member may solicit any gift, food, or beverage from a person, vendor, potential vendor, any other entity doing business with the Board, political committee or committee of continuous existence, or from a lobbyist who lobbies the Board (or the partner, firm, employer, or principal of the lobbyist). No Board member or any person on behalf of the Board member may knowingly accept, directly or indirectly, a gift from a person, vendor, potential vendor, any other entity doing business with the Board, political committee or committee of continuous existence, or from a lobbyist who lobbies the Board (and related individuals and entities, including, but not limited to, the partner, firm, employer, or principal of the lobbyist), if the Board member knows or reasonably believes the gift has a value in excess of $100 - unless the gift is accepted on behalf of and transferred promptly to a governmental entity or a charitable organization, or is given to the Board member by a governmental entity for a public purpose. Gifts from relatives and gifts associated primarily with the recipient's employment or business are not prohibited. Food or beverage consumed at a single sitting or event may be accepted.

   

"Vendor" is defined as a business entity doing business directly with the Board, such as renting, leasing, or selling realty, goods, or services.

     
   

F.S. 112.3148

     
 

3.

Honoraria

     
   

No Board member may solicit an honorarium related to the member's public office or duties. No Board member may knowingly accept, directly or indirectly, an honorarium from a person, vendor, potential vendor, any other entity doing business with the Board, a political committee or committee of continuous existence, or from a lobbyist who lobbies the Board (and related individuals and entities, including, but not limited to, the employer, principal, partner, or firm of the lobbyist). Actual and reasonable transportation, lodging, and food and beverage expenses related to the honorarium event for a Board member and spouse may be accepted.

     
   

"Vendor" is defined as a business entity doing business directly with the Board, such as renting, leasing, or selling realty, goods, or services.

     
   

F.S. 112.3149

     
 

4.

Unauthorized Compensation

     
   

No Board member or his/her spouse or minor child may accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value which, with the exercise of reasonable care, is known or should be known to influence the vote or official action of such Board member.

     
   

F.S. 112.313(4)

 

5.

Doing Business with One's Agency

     
   

No Board member acting in his/her official capacity may, directly or indirectly, purchase, rent, or lease any realty, goods, or services from a business entity in which the Board member, his/her spouse, or child is an officer, partner, director, or proprietor, or in which the Board member, his/her spouse, or child (or any combination of them) owns a material interest. Nor may a Board member, acting in a private capacity, rent, lease, or sell any realty, goods, or services to the Board or any of its agencies.

     
   

F.S. 112.313(3)

     
 

6.

Misuse of Public Position

     
   

No Board member may corruptly use or attempt to use his/her official position or any property or resource within his/her trust, or perform his/her official duties, to obtain a special privilege, benefit, or exemption for the Board member or others.

     
   

F.S. 112.313(6)

     
 

7.

Disclosure or Use of Certain Information

     
   

No Board member may disclose or use information not available to the general public and gained by reason of his/her public position for his/her personal benefit or the benefit of others.

     
   

F.S. 112.313(8)

     
 

8.

Employees Holding Office

     
   

No Board employee may be a member of the Board while simultaneously continuing as an employee.

     
   

F.S. 112.313(10)

 

B.

Voting Conflicts

     
   

A Board member is prohibited from voting in an official capacity on any matter which would inure to his/her special gain or loss, or to the special gain or loss of a principal by whom s/he is retained, or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which s/he is retained, or to the special gain or loss of a relative or business associate. Prior to the vote, the Board member shall publicly state to the assembly the nature of the Board member's interest in the matter from which the member must abstain from voting. The Board member shall make every reasonable effort to disclose the nature of the Board member's interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the Board's recording secretary. If it is not possible for the Board member to file a memorandum before the vote, the memorandum must be filed within fifteen (15) days with the Board's recording secretary.

     
   

A Board member may abstain from voting in the context of a quasi-judicial proceeding if the abstention is to assure a fair proceeding free from potential bias or prejudice. See Policy 0167, Voting.

     
   

F.S. 112.3143, 286.012

     
 

C.

Instructional Materials

     
   

No Board member shall accept anything of value or any inducement to introduce, recommend, vote for, or otherwise influence the adoption or purchase of any instructional material.

     
   

F.S. 1006.32

 

D.

Textbooks

     
   

No Board member shall receive any gift or compensation for promoting the sale or exchange of any schoolbook, map, or chart in any public school, or be an agent for the sale, or the publisher of any school textbook or reference work, or be pecuniarily interested in the introduction of any such textbook.

     
   

F.S. 1006.32(8)

     
 

E.

No contract for supplying materials, supplies, and services needed for the District school system shall be made with any member of the Board, with the Superintendent, or with any business organization in which any Board member or the Superintendent has any financial interest whatsoever.

     
   

F.S. 1001.42

     
 

Additional Provisions

   
 

A.

Board members shall accept no gifts from any individual, firm, or business entity which the Board member has reason to believe is doing business with or seeking to do business with the District. Meals and admissions to events which relate directly to the school system may be accepted.

     
 

B.

Board members shall not participate in trips paid by a vendor or potential vendor for the purpose of inspecting products or programs useful to the District. Such trips, if deemed necessary, shall always be made at District expense and approved by the Board at a public meeting.

     
 

C.

Board members, their spouses, or campaign committees shall not solicit any vendor or any employee of this District to make contributions to any political campaign or testimonial.

 

D.

Board members shall not solicit nor accept personal discounts on merchandise or services from individuals, firms, or business entities which the Board member has reason to believe are doing business with or seeking to do business with this District unless those discounts are available to the general public.

     
 

E.

No Board member may recommend the services of any lawyer or law firm, architect or architectural firm, public relations firm, or any other person or firm, professional or otherwise, to assist in any transaction involving the District, unless the recommendation is made at a public meeting of the Board.

     
 

F.

Board members are prohibited from acting as an agent or attorney for compensation for anyone in connection with any matter in which the District is interested for two (2) years after his/her Board service terminates.

     
 

Guidelines for Avoidance of Conflict of Interest

   
 

The following guidelines are intended to avoid conflicts of interests or the appearance of conflict as it relates to personal purchases or private contracting. These guidelines do not apply to purchases made in a private capacity of goods or services at a price and upon terms available to similarly situated members of the general public.

   
 

A.

When entering into a transaction or contractual relationship as described above, Board members will make the following inquiries to the entity with whom they are contracting:

     
 

1.

Does the business entity have a contractual relationship with the Board for more than $500?

     
 

2.

Is the contracting individual a principal or employee of an entity with a contractual relationship with the Board for more than $500?

 

B.

If an affirmative answer is given to either inquiry above, the Board member will request from the Board Attorney a written opinion indicating whether contracting with the individual or entity would constitute a conflict of interest pursuant to Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, or other State statute or Board rule. The Board Attorney will issue a written opinion or will refer the Board member to the Florida Commission on Ethics.

     
 

C.

Clarification and opinions regarding the application of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees can be obtained at any time from the Florida Commission on Ethics.

     
 

Revised 9/3/13
Revised 6/18/14
Revised 4/15/15

   

0141.3

Conflicting Employment or Contractual Relationship

   
 

No School Board member may hold any employment or contract with any business entity or agency subject to the regulation of, or doing business with the Board. Nor may a Board member hold any employment or contractual relationship which will pose a recurring conflict between his/her private interests and his/her public duties or would impede the full and faithful discharge of his/her public duties.

   
 

A Board member is prohibited from accepting public employment with the State or any of its political subdivisions if the Board member knows, or with the exercise of reasonable care should know, that the position is being offered by the employer for the purpose of gaining influence or other advantage based on the Board member's office or candidacy.

   
 

Public employment may only be accepted by a public officer if:

   
 

A.

the position was already in existence or was created by the employed without the knowledge or anticipation of the public officer's interest in such position;

     
 

B.

the position was publicly advertised;

 

C.

the public officer was subject to the same application and hiring process as other candidates for the position; and

     
 

D.

the public officer meets or exceeds the required qualifications for the position.

     
 

A person who was employed by the State or any of its political subdivisions before qualifying as a public officer for his/her current term of office or the next available term of office may continue the employment. The person may not, however, accept promotion, advancement, additional compensation, or anything of value that s/he knows, or with the exercise of reasonable care should know, is provided or given as a result of his/her election or position, or that is otherwise inconsistent with the promotion, advancement, additional compensation, or anything of value provides or given an employee who is similarly situated.

   
 

Nothing in this policy may be interpreted as authorizing employment that is otherwise prohibited by law.

   
 

F.S. 112.313(7), 112.313(14), 112.3125

   
 

Revised 6/18/14

   

0142

Qualifications

   
 

Each member of the School Board shall meet the qualifications specified by F.S. 1001.34.

   

0142.1

Oath

   
 

Members shall take the prescribed oath of office before entering upon the duties of office after election, or within ten (10) days of appointment if appointed. F.S. 1001.37

0142.3

Orientation

   
 

Each new member of the School Board shall be encouraged to learn and understand the functions and responsibilities of the Board, acquire knowledge related to the operation of schools, and learn Board procedures. Upon certification, the Superintendent and the administrative staff shall assist each new member to understand the Board's functions, policies, procedures, and operation and shall:

   
 

A.

provide the new member materials on the functions of the Board and of the school system;

     
 

B.

invite the new member to attend Board meetings and to participate in its discussions prior to actual induction;

     
 

C.

invite the new member to meet with the Superintendent and other administrative personnel to discuss the services they perform for the Board; and

     
 

D.

provide the current Government in the Sunshine Manual, and the current budget and related financial materials.

   

0143

Election

   
 

The county shall be divided into nine (9) residence areas approximately equal in population.

   
 

Members of the School Board shall be elected by the residents of that member's residence area and shall represent the entire District.

   
 

F.S. 1001.362

   

0143.1

Residence Areas

   
 

The School Board may make any changes in the boundaries of any Board member residence area in odd-numbered years, provided that such a change shall not disqualify an incumbent member during his/her elected term.

0144

Term

   
 

School Board members shall be elected at the general election in November for staggered terms of four (4) years arranged so that the five (5) members from odd-numbered districts shall be elected at one general election and the four (4) members from even-numbers districts shall be elected at the next general election.

   
 

The term of office shall begin on the second Tuesday following the general election in which the member is elected.

   
 

F.S. 100.41, 1001.35, 1001.371

   
 

Revised 6/18/14

   

0145

Filling a Board Vacancy

   
 

A vacancy occurs on the School Board when one (1) of the following events occurs:

   
 

A.

death of the incumbent

     
 

B.

failure to maintain the residence required

     
 

C.

failure of the person elected to qualify as an elector of the District and a resident of the residence area from which the member was elected before taking office, or failure of the person appointed to qualify as an elector of the District and a resident of the residence area for which the member was appointed within ten (10) days of said appointment

     
 

D.

resignation

     
 

E.

removal from office

     
 

F.

unexplained absence for sixty (60) consecutive days

     
 

Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the Governor.

   
 

F.S. 1001.38, Fla. Const. Art. X, Section 3

0146

Removal

   
 

The Governor may suspend or remove for cause an elected or appointed School Board member. Convictions of certain offenses and failure to adhere to prescribed standards of conduct as defined by statute are grounds for removal from office.

   
 

F.S. Const. Art. IV, Section 7

   

0147

Compensation

   
 

Each School Board member shall receive a salary as determined by Florida law.

   
 

F.S. 1001.395

   
 

The Board may authorize reimbursement to Board members for travel expenses pursuant to the District's travel reimbursement procedures.

   
 

A Board member shall receive term life insurance in an amount equal to their annual salary and medical insurance coverage with an option to purchase additional coverage at prescribed rates. Board members are eligible to participate in the Florida Retirement System as specified by law. Board members shall not receive sick leave or vacation pay.

   

0148

Use of Equipment and Services

   
 

The Superintendent is authorized to make available to School Board members appropriate equipment, supplies, and services for their official use and as provided in the budget.

   
 

Any non-budgeted items desired by members must have Board approval. Equipment and services shall be acquired in accordance with District purchasing and property accounting procedures and shall be accounted for by the Superintendent. Equipment must be returned on the last day of service.

   
 

F.S. 1001.41

0149

Access to Records

   
 

No member of the School Board shall be denied documents or information to which they are legally entitled and are required in the performance of the Board member's duties.

   
 

Access to District personnel records shall be governed by Board policy and State law.

   
 

Information obtained from employee personnel records by members of the Board shall be used only for the purpose of aiding the members to fulfill their legal responsibilities in making decisions on such matters as appointments, assignments, promotions, demotions, remuneration, discipline, and dismissal, or to aid the development and implementation of personnel policies, or for other uses as necessary to enable the Board to carry out its legal responsibilities.

   

0149.1

Public Expressions of Members

   
 

Individual School Board members may make public statements on school matters to local media and/or to local or State officials.

   
 

Board members should, when writing or speaking on school matters to the media, legislators, and other officials, make it clear that their views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Board or of their colleagues on the Board.

   

0149.3

Board-Staff Communications

   
 

A.

Staff Communications to the Board

     
   

The preferred method of communication from staff members to the Board or its committees is through the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall forward communications received from staff members to the Board. This procedure is not intended to deny any staff member their constitutional right of free speech or the right to appeal to or otherwise address the Board on important matters through established procedures.

 

B.

Board Communications to Staff

     
   

All official communications, policies, and directives of the Board of staff interest and concern to the staff will generally be communicated through the Superintendent, who shall also keep staff members informed of the Board's concerns and actions.

     
   

Questions regarding the agenda, the supporting documents distributed for meetings, or matters unrelated to the agenda should be directed to the Superintendent or the appropriate administrator.

     
   

Reports and written information prepared by a staff member at the request of an individual Board member shall be sent to the Board member through the Superintendent and a copy sent to all members of the Board.

     
   

Requests for information not maintained on a routine basis by the staff or would require more than a reasonable time to prepare, shall be made by formal Board action in a public Board meeting and receive the approval of the Board. Requests that involve a special study or system wide survey within the school system or the securing of information from other school systems or agencies require Board approval.

     
   

Requests for assistance in the preparing of an agenda item to be presented to the full Board or securing information and materials for public statements or speeches concerning school affairs should be directed to the Superintendent or to the staff members designated by the Superintendent.

     
   

Staff members directed by the Superintendent to furnish such assistance shall provide the information and materials requested. However, the judgment as to what the Board member will use, the content of any presentation, and the opinions expressed shall be the sole responsibility of the individual Board member.

 

C.

Social Interaction

     
   

Both staff and Board members share an interest in the schools and in education generally, and it is to be expected that when they interact at social affairs and other functions, they will informally discuss such matters as educational trends, issues, and innovations, and general activities of the District. However, since individual Board members are not authorized to act on behalf of the Board unless in open public session or when specifically vested with such authority, it is unacceptable for Board members to discuss individual personalities, personnel grievances, or other complaints with members of the staff. Instead, staff members should be encouraged to utilize the procedures established in Board policy or the collective bargaining agreement to have their concerns, complaints, or grievances addressed.

© Neola 2012