School Board Code of Ethics | Policy 1140

The Board of Education recognizes that sound, ethical standards of conduct serve to increase the effectiveness of school board members and their staff as educational leaders in their community. Actions based on an ethical code of conduct promote public confidence and the attainment of district goals. The Board also recognizes its obligation to set forth a code of ethics under the provisions of the General Municipal Law.

The Board therefore adopts the following code of ethics and its accompanying regulation for the guidance of its officers and employees. Board members and their staff commit themselves to:

– ASSURING the opportunity for high quality education for every student and making the well-being of students the fundamental principle in all decisions and actions
– REPRESENTING the entire community without fear or favor
– ACCEPTING all responsibilities as a means of unselfish service, while not using their positions for personal gain
– ACTING as part of an educational team with mutual respect and regard for each other’s respective responsibilities and duties, recognizing that the strength of a school board is in acting as a board, not as individuals
– PRESERVING the obligation of having all issues considered fairly and without bias
– UPHOLDING the principles of due process and individual dignity, and protecting the civil and human rights of all
– MAINTAINING high standards and the effectiveness of education through research and continuing professional development
– OBEYING all national, state, and local laws and regulations pertaining to education and public agencies
– INSTILLING respect for community, state and nation.

School Board Code of Ethics Exhibit

As a member of my Board of Education, I will strive to improve public education and to that end I will:

  • attend all Board meetings insofar as possible, and become informed concerning the issues to be considered at those meetings;
  • recognize that I should endeavor to make policy decisions only after full discussion at publicly held Board meetings;
    render all decisions based on the available facts and my independent judgment, and refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals or specific interest groups;
  • encourage the free expression of opinion by all Board members, and seek systematic communications between the Board and students, staff, and all elements of the community;
  • work with other Board members to establish effective Board policies and to delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the Superintendent of Schools;
  • communicate to other Board members and the Superintendent expressions of public reaction to Board policies and school programs;
  • maintain familiarity with educational issues through study and participation in programs providing needed information, such as those sponsored by state and national school boards associations;
  • support the employment of those persons best qualified to serve as school staff, and insist on a regular and impartial evaluation of all staff;
  • avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest, including avoiding applying to become an officer or employee of the District during my tenure on the Board, and refrain from using my Board position for personal or partisan gain;
  • take no private action that will compromise the Board or administration, and respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law; and remember always that my first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of the students attending the public schools.

School Board Code of Ethics Regulation

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 806 of the General Municipal Law and Board Policy 1140, the Board of Education promulgates these rules of ethical conduct for the officers and employees of the school district. These rules shall not conflict with, but shall be in addition to any prohibition of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law or any other general or special law relating to ethical conduct and interest in contracts of municipal officers and employees.

Definitions

1. “Officer or Employee” means an officer or employee of the district, whether paid or unpaid, including members of the Board of Education, and their professional or nonprofessional staff and appointees.
2. “Interest” means a pecuniary or material benefit accruing to a municipal officer or employee unless the context otherwise requires.

Standards of Conduct

Every officer and employee of the district shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct:

1. Gifts: An officer or employee shall not directly or indirectly solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift having a value of $75 or more, whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended to influence him or her in the performance of his or her official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his or her part.
However, nothing herein should be construed as prohibiting the traditional exchange of holiday gifts provided discretion is used to ensure that gifts of value are not accepted by staff employees or officers. Gifts from children that are principally sentimental in nature and of insignificant financial value may be accepted in the spirit in which they are given.
2. Confidential information: An officer or employee shall not disclose confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of his or her official duties or use such information to further his or her personal interest.
3. Representation before the Board: An officer or employee shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before the school district.
4. Representation before the Board for a contingent fee: An officer or employee shall not receive or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services
to be rendered in relation to any matter before the school district, whereby the compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by the school district with respect to such matter, provided that this paragraph shall not prohibit the fixing at any time of fees based upon the reasonable value of the services rendered.
5. Disclosure of interest in matters before the Board: To the extent that he or she knows thereof, a member of the Board of Education and any officer or employee of the district, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion or gives official opinion to the Board on any matter before the Board shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he or she has in such matters.
6. Investments in conflict with official duties: An officer or employee shall not invest or hold any investment directly in any financial, business, commercial or other private transaction that creates a conflict with his or her official duties.
7. Private employment: An officer or employee shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private interests when that employment or service creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of his or her official duties.
8. Future employment: An officer or employee shall not, after the termination of service or employment with the Board, appear before the Board or any panel or committee of the Board, in relation to any case, proceeding, or application in which he or she personally participated during the period of his or her service or employment or that was under his or her active consideration.
9. Employment with the District: A Board member of the District shall not apply for or accept a position with the District as an employee until after his or her tenure on the Board has concluded. A current employee of the District shall not apply to be on the Board unless the employee resigns from his or her position with the District prior to taking position on the Board, and said employee has been properly elected to the Board position.

This shall not bar or prevent the timely filing by a present or former officer or employee of any claim, account, demand or suit against the district on his or her own behalf or on behalf of any member of his or her family arising out of any personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.

Distribution of Code of Ethics

The Superintendent of Schools shall cause a copy of the Board’s code of ethics and this accompanying regulation to be distributed to every officer and employee of the school district. Each officer and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon the duties of his or her office or employment.

Penalties

In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of the Board’s code of ethics and its accompanying regulation may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.

Adopted: 07/02/1996

Revised: 03/27/2017