LPS SCHOOL COMMITTEE POLICY MANUAL – WEB VIEW INFORMATION
The official manual containing the policies of the Lexington School Committee is kept in the Superintendent’s office and should be consulted for current versions of all policies. A copy of policies is made available for reference through the website for your convenience, but the official hardcopy manual takes precedence.
Policy development in a modern, forward-looking school system is a dynamic, ongoing process. New problems, issues, and needs give rise to the continuing need to develop new policies or to revise existing ones. This is why the committee employs the section based format for this manual. It is easy to keep up to date.
Each person reviewing policies on the web should make a diligent effort to consult the central office for updated policies. Current versions that are posted are dated: September 24, 2015.
How to Use this Manual
The school department operates according to policies established by the School Committee. The Committee then appraises the effects of its policies and makes revisions as necessary. In the interests of harmony, efficiency, uniformity of interpretation, coordination of effort, and in fairness to all concerned, the School Committee makes this manual available to all who are affected by its policies.
Please Note: All copies of this manual are the property of the Lexington School Committee.
How the Manual is Organized
The manual is organized in accordance with the classification system developed by the National School Boards Association. This system provides an efficient means of coding, filing, and finding policies and other documents. There are 12 major classifications each assigned an alphabetical code:
A -- FOUNDATIONS AND BASIC COMMITMENTS
B -- SCHOOL BOARD GOVERNANCE AND OPERATIONS
C -- GENERAL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION
D -- FISCAL MANAGEMENT
E -- SUPPORT SERVICES
F -- FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT
G -- PERSONNEL
H -- NEGOTIATIONS
I -- INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM
J -- STUDENTS
K -- SCHOOL-COMMUNITY RELATIONS
L -- EDUCATION AGENCY RELATIONS
Sub classification under each heading is based on logical sequence and alphabetical sub coding. For an example of the sub coding system, examine the white pages immediately following the tab for Section AD--Foundations and Basic Commitments.
The white pages that follow the tab for each major section present the classification system, section by section, and serve as the tables of contents for each section or "chapter" of this manual.
On the website, each classification has it's own link with associated links to all of the relevant sub policies.
How to Find a Policy
There are two ways to find a policy (or regulation) in this policy manual:
1. Consider where the policy statement (or regulation) would be filed among the 12 major classifications. You can find the Index by clicking above on each classification, Once open you can glance down the listing until you find the term that most closely fits the topic you are seeking. Use the code letters given for that term to locate the policy you need. The pages are arranged in alphabetical order by code within the section. All policies are coded in their upper right hand corner.
2. Using the left-hand navigation, you can open each classification and you can find links to all associated policies.
There are many classifications and policy codes that are available but are not currently in use by LPS. This probably means that the school system has no written policy or procedures in that particular area. All terms used in the classification system appear in the sectional tables of contents and Code Finder Index to accommodate the coding, insertion, and finding of policies or procedures that may be issued later. But there is one other possibility. A brief statement related to the policy you are seeking may be incorporated in a "superior" policy, which covers the area generally. This "superior" policy will be coded under a more general term. To find it, read up the classification system. For example, a policy statement, which relates to all meetings of the school committee, might be filed under "School Board Meetings" (BD) rather than "Regular Board Meetings" (BDA). (Please note: In the classification system and Code Finder Index, read "School Committee" for "School Board".)
Using the Signs and Symbols
Various signs and symbols are used in connection with the classification system. They are for your use in locating and/or in examining policies. Included are the following:
Also: Certain policies bear two codes in the upper right hand corner. The second is in parentheses and is preceded by 'Also'. This means that the identical policy (or regulation) is filed under both codes.
-R This symbol following a code indicates that the statement is a procedure, not a committee policy.
-E Exhibit. This symbol following a code indicates that the statement is a reference document such as a calendar, application form, etc., rather than a policy.
Where possible, the original date of adoption/issuance appears immediately following each policy or regulation. In other instances, an approximate adoption or re-approval date is used. The formal adoption date of this manual is September 24, 2015.
Pertinent legal references are given to inform the reader where in state law s/he may find the statutes that relate to a specific policy. Unless otherwise noted, all references direct the reader to the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (cited as M.G.L., Chapter and section).
Agreements reached through negotiations with recognized staff organizations have the full force of Committee policy. References to negotiated agreements are provided, as appropriate, to direct the reader to statements in these agreements.
Certain policies and regulations relate to others. Cross-references are provided following many statements to help the reader find all of the related information needed.
About Policies and Procedures
Generally, the role of a School Committee is to set policy and the role of the administration is to implement it through procedures. Written policies are the chief means by which a School Committee governs the schools, and regulations are one of the means by which the committee's policies are implemented. The following definitions provide a distinction between these two types of statements:
POLICIES are principles adopted by the School Committee to chart a course of action. They are broad enough to indicate a line of action to be taken by the administration in meeting a number of day-to-day problems while being narrow enough to give the administration clear guidance.
PROCEDURES are detailed directions usually developed by the administration to put policy into practice.
These definitions are serviceable some of the time. They reflect sound theory of governance and administration. But policies and procedures are obviously closely related. They can and do merge, making it difficult to ascertain where one begins and the other ends.
* State and federal governments require School Committees to make or officially approve detailed procedures in certain areas.
* A School Committee signs contracts and agreements that may contain and interweave policies, state regulations, and procedural detail.
* The public staff, or School Committee members may demand that the School Committee itself, not the administration, establish specific procedures in certain sensitive areas.
It is the intermingling of policy and procedure in law, in contracts, and in adopted statements of the School Committee that can cause confusion. Sometimes they are not easily separated. Therefore, the separation of policies and procedures in this manual follows several "rules of thumb" in addition to basic theory:
1. When the school system's practice in a particular area is established by law or regulation, any informational statement covering the practice is presented as "policy". (A law may, of course, be quoted or referred to in a procedure.)
2. When a school system's practice in a particular area has been established through a negotiated agreement, any statement pertaining to that practice is presented as "policy".
3. Where the School Committee has interwoven procedures with policy and where separation would interfere with their meaning, the entire statement is presented as a policy.
4. Where the School Committee has adopted rules and by-laws concerning its own organizational and operating procedures, these statements appear as policy. As long as the administration operates within the guidelines of policy adopted by the Committee, it may issue procedures without prior Committee approval, unless law requires Committee action, or unless the Committee has specifically asked that certain types of procedures be submitted for Committee approval. The School Committee is to be informed of all school system procedures issued by the administration. All such procedures are subject to Committee review.
Is the Manual Complete?
No. The manual contains all of the current written policies of the School Committee to date. But, the need for putting additional policies in writing, for adopting new or revising existing ones, becomes apparent.
Additionally, state laws; and regulations change. No matter how well conceived and well developed, a policy manual can never be 100% complete and 100% up-to-date. Policy development is a continuing process. From time to time, new policies, regulations, and reference documents will be developed, coded under the classification system, and issued for insertion in the manual.
Should the need arise, supplemental sub codes may be added to the classification system to accommodate topics not covered by existing codes. For example, IGA is the code for BASIC INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM. The Code Finder Index lists various programs from IGAA, CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION to IGAJ, DRIVER EDUCATION.
Order of Precedence
School Committee policies and procedures, as well as negotiated agreements with staff bargaining units, must be read and interpreted in the light of the Massachusetts General Laws and State regulations. Wherever inconsistencies of interpretation arise, the law and state regulations prevail. A conflict between a local policy or procedure and a negotiated agreement must be interpreted in line with the contract for members of the particular bargaining unit.
The masculine, feminine and neuter genders as used in this manual import one another, and the singular shall include the plural whenever applicable.
It is the hope of the Lexington School Committee is that this collection of policies and procedures will make greater harmony and efficiency possible in all areas of school operations. This will enable the Committee to devote more time to its primary duty--the development of long-range policies and planning for the future of the school system.
Lexington School Committee
Adoption Date: July 7, 2015