Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lynn School Committee Parameters Per the City Charter

In the November 13th edition of the Lynn Daily Item, it was mentioned in regard to a discussion about overcrowding at Ford Elementary and other schools that

"...Latham and Ford are primarily responsible for sorting out Ford's problems. [Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy] reminded [the School Committee] that the City Charter includes a committee prohibition barring "interference in administration."
This leads to the question: what else does the City Charter dictate as far as the Lynn School Committee is concerned? See below for Article 4 of the Lynn City Charter which is specific to the School Committee.


Section 4-1     Composition; Eligibility; Term of Office

(a)     Composition--The school committee shall consist of the mayor, who shall be chairman, and, six members elected at large.

(b)     Eligibility--Any voter shall be eligible to hold the office of school committee member.

(c)     Term of Office--The term of office of school committee members shall be for two years beginning the first Monday in January following their election, and until their successors are qualified.

Section 4-2     Officers of the School Committee
The committee shall organize biennially on the first Monday in January, and shall elect one of its members vice chairman, whose duty it shall be to preside in the absence of the mayor.

Section 4-3     General Powers and Duties
The school committee, in addition to the powers and duties conferred and imposed by law on school committees, shall have power to:

(a)     Elect a superintendent of schools, and may, subject to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint, suspend or remove at pleasure such subordinate officers of assistants, including custodians of school buildings, as it may deem necessary for the proper discharge of its duties and the conduct of its business;

(b)     Define the term of service, the duties and fix the compensation of all officers and employees appointed by it;

(c)     Provide, when they are necessary, temporary accommodations for school purposes;

(d)     Make all repairs, the expenditure for which are made from the regular appropriation for the school department, except as is otherwise provided herein, or by statute;

(e)     Control all school buildings and the ground connected therewith;

(f)     Make all reasonable rules and regulations, not inconsistent with any laws of the commonwealth, for the management of the public schools of the city and for conducting the business of the schools.

Section 4-4     Sites for School Buildings
No site for a school building shall be acquired or designated, no plans for the construction or alteration of a school building shall be accepted, or work thereon begin, and no furnishings or equipment shall be purchased or installed, by the city, without first having obtained in each case the approval of the school committee signified by order.

(a)     Appointment--No member of the school committee, except the mayor, shall, during the term for which he is elected, hold any other office or position, the compensation for which is payable out of the city treasury, nor shall such person be eligible to hold any such office or position until two years following the expiration of such term. This provision shall not prevent a city officer or city employee who has taken a leave of absence from such office or employment from resuming his duties as such following such service as a school committee member.

(b)     Interference in Administration--No member of the school committee, nor any sub-committee of the school committee, shall, directly or indirectly, attempt to take any part in the conduct of the administrative business of the school department.

Section 4-6     Exercise of Powers
(a)     In General--Unless otherwise provided by general law, or by the charter, the power of the school committee may be exercised in the manner determined by it.

(b)     Quorum--The presence of four members of the school committee shall constitute a quorum. The affirmative votes of four members shall be necessary to adopt any order, resolution or other formal vote, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time.

(c)     Meetings to be Public--All meetings of the school committee, and of every sub-committee thereof, shall at all times be open to the public and to the press, unless otherwise authorized by law.

Section 4-7     Budget Hearing
At least thirty days before the meeting at which the school committee is to vote on the budget request which it will submit to the mayor for inclusion in the budget he is required to submit to the city council, the school committee shall cause to be published in a local newspaper a general summary of its proposed budget. The summary shall indicate specifically areas of increase from the current budget, if any, and the reasons for such changes. The notice shall further state (1) the times and places where complete copies of the preliminary budget proposal are available for examination by the public, and (2) the date, not less than seven nor more than fourteen days following such publication, the time and the place at which a public hearing will be held by the school committee on its budget proposal.

The action of the school committee in adopting the budget, following the public hearing shall be summarized and the results of a roll call vote taken on each amendment to the proposed budget as may be offered shall be recorded.

Section 4-8     Mayor to be Coordinator
The mayor shall be responsible for the effective coordination of all activities of the school department with the activities of all other city agencies. He shall transmit all requests of the school committee, which require action by the city council to the city council, and he shall, at the request of the city council, provide it with such information concerning such requests as may be necessary or desirable.

Section 4-9     Vacancies
If a vacancy shall occur in the office of school committee member it shall be filled in the same manner as is provided in Section 3-12 for the filling of vacancies in the office of city councillor at large.

Citation: http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/cityhall_citycharter.shtml

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