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Discussion Starter #1
<p><span style="font-size:12px;">Hi Montessori parents!  We've been part of a Montessori school for 8 yrs, 7 of them in one school.  Recently, this school sent this mssg:</span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px;">**********************************************************</span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:garamond;">While the school has changed dramatically, one area that remained static is the school’s bylaws, which govern the manner in which the school is structured and managed.  The Board of Trustees discusses and reviews the bylaws on an ongoing basis and we have recently focused on the manner in which members of the WHMS serve on the Board of Trustees.  The current b</span>ylaws require that seven members of the Board of Trustees must be selected by a vote of the WHMS community. The <span id="user_lw_1291133820_0">current Board of Trustees</span> recently unanimously approved recommending that the bylaws be amended to do away with these annual elections and move to a system whereby the members of the Board of Trustees would be determined by a vote of the Board of Trustees rather than of the full WHMS community.  As set forth below, we believe this will bring WHMS in line with current views of best practices for not-for-profit independent schools, maximize the likelihood that the composition of the board includes a wide range of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience, and minimizes the amount of time spent on formal school-wide elections providing the Board with additional time to focus on the continued development of the school. </span></p>
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<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:garamond;"><span id="user_lw_1291133820_1">The National Association of Independent Schools</span> (NAIS), an organization which WHMS maintains a membership, is a leader in providing guidance to schools regarding best practices in all areas of school governance.  NAIS recommends self-perpetuating school boards, stating:</span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-size:12px;">                        <span style="font-family:garamond;">While parents may think they will be better served by a parent-elected board, in fact the 300-year history of independent schools in the U.S.</span></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:garamond;">                                shows just the opposite: that self-perpetuating boards have the perspective and distance from self-interest to make the more strategic decisions upon</span></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:garamond;">                                which the enterprise’s success, growth and future is dependent.  Parent-elected, parent-dominated boards are increasingly rare, for this very reason.</span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:garamond;">NAIS bases this conclusion in large part on the importance of identifying and selecting prospective Board members based upon the Board’s perceived needs in strategic expertise, resources and perspectives to ensure a properly functioning Board.  Many times it will be difficult, if not impossible, for those outside the Board to identify the areas in which the Board may be short-handed and the Board will be in the best position to engage in an annual process of identifying perceived needs and identifying appropriate individuals to fill those gaps. </span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:garamond;">As a practical matter, during the last five</span> years the Board has essentially functioned in a manner consistent with a self-perpetuating board with the added time and expense of holding an election.  Each year we have ascertained our needs for the future year, sought out and recruited appropriate individuals and also made a general call to the WHMS community of the opportunity to seek election to the Board.  Over this period, we have not had a single parent come us to and say that he or she desired to serve on the Board and as a result, each year we have had a slate of candidates “running” for an equal number of seats.  This process requires a substantial amount of Board and staff time to prepare and transmit proxies and then a greater amount of time must be spent tracking folks down to complete their proxies in order to meet the quorum requirements for the election. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px;">**************************************************************************************************</span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><strong>Having no experience on the board, or with any sense of whether it is important for parents to have input here, can anyone give me any feedback about this change?  Has your school gone through this?  Do you HAVE parent input into Board appointees?  Thanks for any/all input!  andy</strong></span></p>
 

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Discussion Starter #2
<p>oy.  Not sure what to do.  The mtg is approaching, and we have to vote on this issue.  I don't LIKE voting away my rights to have a say in how things proceed, but I also don't like making things hard for people who are already donating a lot of their time and efforts to helping the school run smoothly and to the best possible ends for the kids.  anyone???</p>
 

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<p>I have no idea.  I'm on a board for a non-school group, and I was appointed, as are the president and other members.  There are several people on the board who are there because they have money and they hold the majority of power and influence over the decisions - decisions that may not necessarily be in the best interest of growing the organization but rather their own self-interests.  Then again, many people within the organization are not that interested in the board goings-on, would not have researched and/or voted, and the same people would have ended up in the position anyway.</p>
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<p>It sounds like your parent-community isn't very involved, and the Board is tired of it.  I don't really know the amount of effort that goes into these "elections" - it sounds little exaggerated to me, but I can understand their frustration.</p>
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<p>I guess if the Board has basically been running unofficially self-perpetuated already, your pleased with the direction of the school, and neither you nor other parents you know have interest in becoming involved, then things really wouldn't change that much if this is passed.  Also, if you or another parent <em>does</em> decide to get more involved, they could talk with the board members to have a chance at a seat in the future or just have their ideas and concerns known.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282541/losing-board-elections-in-favor-of-board-appointed-board#post_16087322"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><p>It sounds like your parent-community isn't very involved, and the Board is tired of it.  I don't really know the amount of effort that goes into these "elections" - it sounds little exaggerated to me, but I can understand their frustration.</p>
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<p>I'm forum-crashing, but I did want to comment on this point. I recently was on a nonprofit board, and when it was time for elections, we spent weeks making tons of phone calls and emails to get a full slate for the next year's board. In the end, 2 people stayed on the board, though they really wanted a break, because we couldn't find enough people. Our general membership does have a vote, but we don't actually have to stage big election campaigns, the way I imagine school board members do. If that's the issue at your school, then I can see how appointing people would be easier because yes, it can be an incredibly frustrating & time-consuming prospect.</p>
 

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<p>Our school has a mandatory parent meeting every September where we vote for the board members. Other than that I  am not involved other than our required volunteer hours. I think it is good that parents have a say,but getting everyone together often to decide matters can be difficult,so that falls on the board members we voted in place.I suppose if I don't like something I can talk to the staff and/or contact parents on issues and request a special meeting.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282541/losing-board-elections-in-favor-of-board-appointed-board#post_16087382"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282541/losing-board-elections-in-favor-of-board-appointed-board#post_16087322"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><p>It sounds like your parent-community isn't very involved, and the Board is tired of it.  I don't really know the amount of effort that goes into these "elections" - it sounds little exaggerated to me, but I can understand their frustration.</p>
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<p>I'm forum-crashing, but I did want to comment on this point. I recently was on a nonprofit board, and when it was time for elections, we spent weeks making tons of phone calls and emails to get a full slate for the next year's board. In the end, 2 people stayed on the board, though they really wanted a break, because we couldn't find enough people. Our general membership does have a vote, but we don't actually have to stage big election campaigns, the way I imagine school board members do. If that's the issue at your school, then I can see how appointing people would be easier because yes, it can be an incredibly frustrating & time-consuming prospect.</p>
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<p><br>
That's good insight, VisionaryMom.<br>
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Discussion Starter #7
<p>The elections require a quorum, which can be a pain, but they send out proxy's as a matter of course.  Getting enough usually isn't TOO hard, but it does incur cost to the school and time and effort by the staff to stuff envelopes etc.  What I'm afraid *could* happen, I guess, is that the board becomes self serving and somewhat incestuous.  It happens, right?  So is it my responsibility to stand up at the mtg and object?  What kinds of measures might I be able to request to moderate that concern, do you think?  I like mattemama's comment about a mandatory meeting, which would include the voting right then and there...hmmm.  anything else?</p>
 

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<p>I am a public school board trustee and have served on a committee at my son's Montessori.  I think the positions should always be elected.  We live in a small community and sometimes it is hard to get people to to run, but there should always be the option.  The best run board is one that is elected by the parents and community.  The board makes decisions that affect the community's greatest assets and the ones most treasured and loved by parents: the children. </p>
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<p>There should also be terms.  This allows for new views to enter the mix.  Our Montessori school does not have terms or limits for being on the board and there are a couple of people that really need to step down, but are not required to and there is no way for a new person to step in.</p>
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<p>I would not vote away my rights to vote on a governing board.  That is a way that you have say in your child's education.  Anytime to send your child outside the school for their education you lose some control.  So hang on to what you do have.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<p>ty - that jives w/what I have been feeling, but really, I don't know much about it!</p>
 
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