As mentioned in the Welcome section, the Governance Act requires all local boards to have adopted a code of conduct. Virtually every board in Alabama adopted the state’s model code of conduct as-is, without any modifications.
The code has 30 statements about board behavior that cover what board members do as individuals, as a board, and at board meetings.
The Conduct-of-Individuals section covers things like:
The Conduct-of-the-Board section covers:
The last section, Conduct of Individuals at Board Meetings, covers:
Please take a minute to review the Model Code of Conduct in its entirety.
School Board Member Sanctions
The Governance Act granted both the local school board and the state superintendent of education authority to initiate sanction proceedings against individual board members who engage in willful misconduct or neglect of duty.
This portion of the Governance Act was intended to target egregious behavior. One breach of the Code of Conduct generally does not constitute willful misconduct; however, refusal to attend meetings because you don’t want to act on a layoff decision, thereby throwing the system into the red, may constitute neglect of duty.
Generally, the rule of thumb is the functionality of the board: Does the board member’s misbehavior seriously affect the board’s ability to do its work? If so, then the board may consider the sanction process. If not, then it might be time for members of the board to have honest, tough conversations amongst themselves about how everyone can better communicate and fulfill their duties to their constituents. AASB always encourages boards to engage in conversation and attempt to solve problems informally first and reserve sanctions as a “nuclear option.”