Section B – Board Governance

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Board of Directors – BYLAWS – MSAD #35

Board Books

ARTICLE I – Name and Charter

Sec. 1  Name

 The name of the group is to be School Administrative District No.35, (MSAD #35) Board of Directors (The Board).

The municipalities of Eliot and South Berwick are constituted to be and have been since May 11, 1964, a School Administrative District, known as School Administrative District No. 35, with all of the powers, privileges and franchises granted to School Administration Districts according to the Revised Statues of 1964, Title 20, and Sections 211 to 307.  The proceedings taken in the town meetings held in the municipalities of Eliot and So. Berwick, wherein it was voted to join in the formation of a School Administrative District, are validated and made effective.

Sec. 2  The Philosophy

The Board of Directors and staff of MSAD #35 are committed to the development of an outstanding school system which will provide the opportunity for all students to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to become productive members of an ever changing society.  We are committed to preparing our students for a successful future by providing quality academic programs, social experiences and ethical guidance within our schools.  Our foremost priority must be the welfare of the students in our system.

To meet these goals, we believe that MSAD #35 has the responsibility of establishing throughout the school system a safe and wholesome learning environment in which intellectual, emotional, social, ethical and physical growth are nurtured so that students will develop a sense of self-worth and responsibility and learn to respect the rights of others.  We must help students acquire basic reading, writing and computation skills, along with the critical and creative thinking skills which are essential to active participation in democracy.  We recognize and respond to differing individual needs and learning styles.  We must provide students with knowledge of human civilization, the American Heritage and the physical universe.  We must endeavor to help students to develop positive attitudes towards learning and to become actively involved in their own education.

We must make our school system a stimulating environment in which to learn and to teach by encouraging high professional standards and continued staff growth.  We must strive to promote mutual respect and cooperation among administrators, staff, students and members of the community.

ARTICLE II  – School Board of Directors

Sec. 1 – Board of Directors

  1. Members:  The Board shall consist of three elected members from Eliot and three elected members from South Berwick.

  1. Election:  For the purpose of nominations, School Directors shall be considered municipal officers and shall be nominated in accordance with Title 30-A Chapter 121 or with a municipal charter, whichever is applicable.  (MRSA Title 20-A §1253 p.25.)

  1. Term of Office:  Each member will be elected for a three year term.

  1. Oath of Office:  Each newly elected Board member shall take an oath of office before beginning any MSAD #35 duties.

  1. Qualifications:  Board members shall be registered voters and reside in the town where they were elected.

  1. Vacancy:  When a vacancy occurs before a term is completed, due to resignation, moving from town elected in, death, or removal from office due to conviction of a felony, a new member shall be appointed by the municipal officers of that town to serve until the next regular scheduled municipal election.  At that time a member will be elected to fulfill the term of the vacancy. (MRSA 20-A §1254).

  1. Two students from Marshwood High School, one junior and one senior, will be recognized by the School Board as nonvoting representatives to the School Board and will be invited to participate on selected standing committees, as appointed by the School Board.

Sec. 2 – Powers and Duties of School Board Directors

The School Board shall have general charge of all the public schools of this unit and shall exercise such other responsibilities as specifically provided by law (1001 et. seq.).

The Board is to concern itself primarily with broad questions of policy rather than with administrative details.  The application of policies is an administrative task to be performed by the Superintendent and his/her staff, who are to be held responsible for the effective administration and supervision of the entire school system.  The Board, functioning within the framework of laws,

  1. Shall elect and discharge the Superintendent, whose term shall be determined by the Board.  (MRSA T20-A §1051, 1052).

  1. The Board or Superintendent shall annually choose an auditor who will conduct an annual audit.

  1. Shall base decisions on MSAD #35 Adopted Policies.

  1. Shall consider for approval all nominations submitted by the Superintendent.

  1. Shall approve and enact policy for the management of the District.

  1. Shall be responsible for the preparation of the budget.  (MRSA T 20-A §1302)

  1. Shall provide for the planning, expansion, improvement, financing, construction and maintenance of the physical plant of the school system.

  1. Shall prescribe the minimum standards needed for the efficient operation and improvement of the school system.

  1. Shall require the establishment and maintenance of records, accounts, archives, management methods and procedures incidental to the conduct of school business.

  1. Shall approve the budget, financial reports, audits, major expenditures, payment of obligations, and policies whereby the Administration may formulate procedures, regulations, and other guides for the orderly accomplishment of business.

  1. Shall issue orders to the assessors of the member municipalities requiring them to assess taxes for the operation, support, maintenance, improvement and extension of the school system.

  1. Shall adopt courses of study.

  1. Shall provide staff and instructional materials and equipment.

  1. Shall evaluate the educational program to determine the effectiveness with which the schools are achieving the educational purposes of the school system.

  1. Shall provide for the dissemination of information relating to the school that is necessary for creating a well-informed public.

  1. Members of the Board have authority only when acting as a board legally in session.  The Board shall not be bound in any way by any action or statement on the part of any individual board member except when such a statement or action is authorized by specific instructions of the Board (20-A MRSA § 1001).

Sec. 3 – Board Member Code of Ethics

School Board members will uphold the highest standards of personal ethics and integrity when dealing with all matters related to the governance of the district.  These standards will include the following:

  1. Board action will be confined to policymaking, planning, appraisal, and other duties as defined by law.

  1. Board members will recognize that their responsibility is not to operate the schools, but to see that they are well operated.

  1. Board members will think of children first and seek to provide education for all children in the community commensurate with their needs and abilities.

  1. Board members will refrain from disparaging remarks, in or out of Board meetings, about other members of the Board or their opinions.

  1. The confidential business of the Board will not be discussed outside the confines of the Board Executive Session.

  1. Board members will not criticize District employees publicly; instead, such concerns should be directed to the Superintendent for investigation and action, if necessary.

  1. Board decisions will be supported graciously once made by a majority of the Board.

  1. Board members will listen to and respect the opinions of citizens. All complaints will be referred to the proper authorities.

  1. Board members will remember at all times that as an individual they have no legal authority outside the meetings of the Board and that they will conduct their relationship with the school staff, the local citizenry, and all media on the basis of this fact.

  1. Board members will make decisions openly after all facts bearing on a question have been presented and discussed.

  1. Board members will refuse to make promises as to how they will vote on a matter that should properly come before the Board as a whole.

  1. Board members will welcome and encourage cooperation and participation by teachers, administrators, and other personnel in developing policies that affect the welfare of employees and that of the children they serve.

  1. Board members will resist every temptation and outside pressure to use their position as a School Board member to benefit them or any individual or agency apart from the total interest of the school administrative district.

  1. Board members will recognize at all times that the School Board is an agent of the State, and as such, will abide by the laws of the State and the regulations formulated by the Maine Department of Education and the State Board of Education.

Sec. 4 – Conflicts of Interest

School Board members must be constantly alert to their responsibilities and potential conflicts, and take care to avoid even the appearance of self-interest through disclosure or abstention (Title 30-A § 2605). A Board member shall not have any direct or indirect pecuniary interest (as defined by law as some financial benefit which may somehow come to the board member) in a contract or in other dealings with MSAD #35, nor shall he/she furnish directly any labor, equipment, or supplies to the unit.

In the event that a Board member is employed by a corporation or business, or has a secondary interest in a corporation or business which furnishes goods or services to the schools, the Board member shall declare his/her secondary interest and refrain from debating or voting upon the question of contracting with the company.

A Board member may not, during the time the member serves on the Board and for one year after the member ceases to serve on the Board, be appointed to any civil office of profit or employment position which has been created or the compensation of which has been increased by the action of the Board during the time the member has served on the Board.

A member of the Board or spouse of a member may not be an employee of MSAD #35. A member of the Board, or spouse of a member, may not serve as a volunteer when that volunteer has primary responsibility for a curricular, co-curricular or extracurricular program or activity and reports directly to the Superintendent, principal, athletic director, or other school administrator in MSAD #35. To avoid the appearance of nepotism, other immediate family members of the Board will not be hired, unless the Board approves an exception to this policy when determined to be in the best interests of the District. (20-A MRSA §1002)

Sec. 5 – Infractions

If any infraction of the Board Code of Ethics or Conflict of Interest occurs, the Board Chair is authorized to take whatever action is necessary, including but not limited to, censure or reprimand, with the advice and consent of the majority of the Board.  Action will be taken by the Vice Chair, with the advice and consent of the majority of the Board, when the infraction is committed by the Board Chair.

Article Revised: May 16, 2007 and September 3, 2008

ARTICLE III – Officers

Sec. 1 – The Chairperson

The Chairperson is to be elected by the Board at the annual organizational meeting, whose duties are to:

  1. Prepare the agenda with the Superintendent.

  1. Sign the Superintendent’s contract, all graduation diplomas, referendum ballots, and all contracts.

  1. Run all meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order.

  1. Call special meetings, in conjunction with the Superintendent.

Sec. 2 – The Vice Chairperson

The Vice Chairperson is to be elected at the annual organizational meeting, whose duties are:

  1. In absence of the Chairperson, to assume those duties.

ARTICLE IV – Meetings

Sec. 1 – Meetings

All meetings shall be run in accordance with the Maine Freedom of Access Act.  (MRSA T 1 Chapter 13 §401)

Sec. 2 – Quorum

Quorum:  A majority of the School Board Members shall constitute a quorum.  Each member shall have one vote.  A quorum is required to pass any motion.

Sec. 3 – Board Organizational Meeting

Board Organizational Meeting:  The annual organizational meeting shall be the second regular Board meeting in June.  At that meeting, a Board Chair and Vice Chair shall be elected to serve a one year term of office.

  1. Three Board members shall be elected by the Board to serve on the Facilities and Finance Committee for one year.

  1. Two Board members shall be appointed by the Chair to serve on the Negotiations Committee for one year.

  1. Two Board members shall be appointed by the Chair to serve on the Educational Policy Committee for one year and school administrators will serve as advisors.

Sec. 4 – Regular Meetings

Regular meetings:  Shall be held the first and third Wednesday of the month unless otherwise agreed upon.  Meetings which fall during school vacations will be rescheduled.  Normal meetings will be held in the Learning Center at Marshwood High School. Meetings will usually begin at 7:00 pm.  All meetings shall cease at 10 PM unless the majority of the Board votes in the affirmative to suspend this rule.

Sec. 5 – Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the Superintendent of Schools and the Chair of the Board.  Public notice is required as provided by the Maine Freedom of Access Act.

Sec. 6 – Workshops

Workshops may be called as needed, a quorum is not necessary, and no binding decisions can be made.  Public notice is required.  The public is welcome, but no public participation is allowed.

Sec. 7 – Executive Sessions

Executive Sessions may be called in accordance with the Maine Freedom of Access Act.

Article Revised:  July 14, 2010, August 29, 2012 and August 28, 2013

ARTICLE V – Superintendent

Sec. 1 – Powers and Duties:

  1. Duties shall include but not be limited to MRSA T20-A §1055.

  1. As the Board’s Secretary, the Superintendent shall be responsible for the accurate preparation of the minutes.  Minutes shall be circulated to the Board members, press, schools, and other citizens who request them.  The minutes shall note the name(s) of the Board members voting in the minority or abstaining.

  1. The Superintendent shall nominate for School Board approval all employees of MSAD #35 in accordance with MRSA T20-A.)

  1. The Superintendent shall inform the Board of change in the law which would affect current Board Policy.  S/He shall recommend new policies required by State and Federal law. Manuals shall be recalled annually for the purpose of updating.

  1. The Superintendent shall present a monthly financial statement after the close of the last warrant of the month.  This report shall contain reports of expenditures in all codes, all receipts and a justification of balance.

Sec. 2 – Agenda Preparation and Dissemination:

  1. The Superintendent will prepare the agenda for the meeting following consultation with the Chair.  The agenda will be published and the Chair or acting Chair may note that no action is permissible on items not on the published agenda

  1. An Audience to the Public shall be part of every regular meeting of the Board of Directors, in accordance with policy BEDH Public Participation Policy.

  1. On the Friday prior to the Board meeting the established agenda will be posted on the district website and distributed to town offices, libraries, local newspapers and schools.


Sec. 1 – Policy Adoption

Policy Adoption:  Policies will be adopted and/or amended only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Board of Directors when such action has been scheduled on the agenda of a regular or special meeting.  Insofar as possible, the Board of Directors desires a broad input into the development of policies for the system.  To insure that this input takes place, the Board will adhere to the following procedure in considering and adopting new policies or amending existing policies.

  1. First Meeting:  the policy will be presented for the first reading and discussion.

  1. Second Meeting:  the policy shall be presented for second reading and adoption.

Sec. 2 – Amendments

Amendments:  Amendments may be presented at either meeting.  An amendment will not require that the policy go through an additional reading unless the Board determines by vote that further study is desirable and an additional reading is necessary.

Sec. 3  Review:  After a period of six years from the date of Board approval, each policy will be reviewed and revised if necessary because of changing conditions, statutes, or court decisions.    Board action will be required to extend the authority of a policy for another period of six years.

Sec. 4  Policy Deletion:  Policies may be deleted from the Policy Book upon majority vote of the Board.

Article Revised:  October 16, 2013


Sec. 1 – The Fiscal Year

The Fiscal Year is July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

Sec. 2 – Budget Deadlines and Schedules:

  1. The Board of Directors shall review the budget document in public work sessions.

  1. After review and tentative approval, the Superintendent shall submit a budget document in legally prescribed form to the Board a week prior to the scheduled budget adoption, for final approval.

  1. A review of the budget document shall be prepared and mailed to all residents of the District a week prior to the scheduled budget meeting.  The complete budget document will be available for public scrutiny in the Superintendent’s Office at least 7 days prior to any hearings held on the budget.

  1. Each school shall have a complete revised budget available for that school,          indicating changes made from the document originally sent to the Superintendent.

Sec. 3 – Budget Adoption:

  1. District budget meetings are conducted by referendum with each member municipality.    In accordance with MRSA T20-A §1305-1308 except in extreme mitigating   circumstances, district budget meetings are held. MRSA T20-A §1305-1308.

  1. The conduct of the budget meetings is to be run according to MRSA T20-A §1305-1308.

  1. The Maine Moderator’s Guide shall be used in the conduct of District Budget Meetings.

Sec. 4 – Audit:

  1. Each Board member shall receive a copy of the audited financial statement and a copy shall be on file in the Office of the Superintendent.  MRSA T20-A §6051.

ARTICLE VIII – Committees

Sec. 1 – Standing Committees:

Standing Committees shall be formed at the Board’s yearly organizational meeting.  Membership of the Standing Committees shall consist of the Superintendent, the Board Chair, (ExOfficio), and two Board members.  Committee membership shall be discussed by the entire Board and members shall be appointed by the Chair, except for the Facilities and Finance Committee, which shall consist of three (3) members elected by the Board.

MSAD #35 currently has four Standing Committees:

A – Facility and Finance Committee:

Facility and Finance Committee:  Shall review facilities needs of the District, review and approve warrants and make financial recommendations.

  1. A monthly financial statement shall be prepared by the Superintendent after the close of   the last warrant of the month.  This report shall contain reports of expenditures in all codes, all receipts and a justification of balances.

  1. A member of the Finance Committee and the District Treasurer shall sign all warrants.

B – Negotiations Committee

Negotiations Committee:  Shall represent the Board in all negotiations with contracted employees of the District.

C – Educational Policy Committee

Educational Policy Committee:  Shall review policies and make recommendations to the full Board regarding revisions or new policy adoptions.

  1. Members who will serve on the Educational Policy Committee as advisors may include a representative from the QEA, administrators and others designated by the Superintendent.

Sec. 2 – Advisory Committees:

A – Formation:

Advisory Committees may be formed from time to time as the Board wishes as special needs arise.  At the time of the Advisory Committee’s inception the Board shall    determine:

  1. Its purpose;

  2. Duration;

  3. Role;

  4. The resources the Board intends to provide;

  5. Approximate dates for reporting to the Board Chair or liaison, if necessary or able to determine at inception; and

  6. Membership of the Committee, if necessary.

B – Role of Advisory Committee:

  1. Advisory committees should serve at the pleasure of the Board.

  1. Advisory committees should be appointed primarily to advise the Board.  In general, individual members of such committees should not be requested to perform specific services for the Board.  Unique talents of members can best be utilized on a consultant.

  1. The Board should seek the advice of the Superintendent before establishing or dissolving any advisory committee.

  1. Specific topics for study or well-defined areas of activity should be assigned in writing to each committee immediately following its appointment.

  1. Upon completing its assignment, each advisory committee should either be given new charges or be dissolved promptly.  No committee should be allowed to continue for prolonged periods without a definite assignment.

  1. Each advisory committee should be instructed as to:

  1. The role of the committee being advisory only;

  2. The resources the Board intends to provide in order to help it complete its task;

  3. The approximate dates on which the Board wishes reports to be submitted;

  4. The time and place of the first meeting;

  5. Its relationships with the Board as a whole and with members of the professional staff; and

  6. The approximate date on which the Board wishes to dissolve the committee.

Article Revised: September 6, 2006, July 14, 2010 and August 29, 2012


Sec. 1- Amendments:

These Bylaws may be amended by voting at any regular or special meeting provided that previous notice of the first reading of the amendment was given to all members one meeting prior to the vote.

Sec. 2 – Bylaw Review:

These Bylaws shall be reviewed annually at the Board organizational meeting.  If there are no changes warranted or recommended, the Bylaws shall be accepted as written.

Policy Adopted: December 20, 1995

Policy Revised: August 14, 2002

New Board of Directors Orientation – BIA

In order that newly elected Board members may cast informed votes and function effectively as Board members, the Board and Superintendent will extend to them the fullest measures of courtesy and cooperation and will make every reasonable effort to assist newly elected Board members in understanding the Board’s functions, policies, procedures and current issues.

  1. In the interim between a new member’s election or appointment and his/her assuming office, the Board, through the Superintendent, will invite new members to attend meetings, except those held in executive session, and will provide new members with agenda, minutes and reports applicable to those meetings.  During the time between election or appointment and the assumption of office, the status of the future-member remains that of a private citizen and not that of an elected or appointed official.

  1. The Board, through the Superintendent, will provide new members with copies of appropriate publications, such as the Board policy manual, student handbook(s), collective bargaining agreements and current budget documents.

  1. The Board will encourage new members to attend appropriate in-district and out-of-district orientation and/or boardsmanship workshops.  Reimbursement for such activities must be approved in advance by the Board Chair, in consultation with the Superintendent, and is subject to the availability of funds.

  1. The Chair and Superintendent will schedule and arrange for an orientation session for new Board members as soon as practicable after election or appointment.  A reasonable amount of time will be provided for discussion of:

  1. The roles and responsibilities of the Board and individual members;

  2. Basic operational procedures of the Board;

  3. Placement of items on the agenda;

  4. The role of committees, subcommittees and advisory committees;

  5. How and why executive sessions may be held;

  6. What is considered confidential or privileged information;

  7. Appropriate responses of an individual member when a request or complaint is made directly to him/her by a student, parent or member of the community;

  8. How the Board responds to complaints involving personnel;

  9. General information about the school system and its resources;

  10. How Board members, in fulfilling their duties, may request information concerning schools and District operations, finances and personnel;

  11. How Board members may make arrangements to visit schools, and the protocol for such visits;

  12. Protocol for dealing with the media; and

  13. Other relevant topics.

Policy Adopted: August 14, 2002

Policy Revised: December 7, 2005

Policy Review – BGD/CHB

The Board and Superintendent will work together to keep Board policies and the Board’s policy manual up to date.

The Superintendent is given the continuing commission of calling to the Board’s attention any policy that is inadequate, not working, out of date, or appears to need revision for other reasons.

Various actions of the Board and changes in state and federal laws may require minor revisions or editorial changes in certain policies and regulations of the Board.  The Superintendent is authorized to make these changes, and to present them to the Board for review.  Acceptance will constitute positive Board action.

After a period of six years from the date of Board approval, each policy will be reviewed and revised if necessary because of changing conditions, statutes, or court decisions.  All policies will remain in effect until Board action is taken.

Policy Adopted:       September 2, 1992

Policy Revised:        December 3, 2003, December 7, 2005 and June 19, 2013

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Public Participation at Board Meetings – BEDH

The School Board conducts meetings to carry out the official business of the school department.  The Board recognizes the value of public comment on educational issues.  To permit fair and orderly expression of such comment, the procedures described in this policy will be followed.

The Board will ask members of the public for comments prior to Board action on agenda items dealing with policy, expenditure of funds, curriculum, audit and other school district business.  Requests to address the Board on matters not on the agenda must be made to the Superintendent and must set forth the specifics of the subject to be addressed.    When appropriate, the Superintendent will place such requests on the agenda.  The Board will not entertain any public comment about specific individuals.  Such matters should be referred to the appropriate administrator.

The Board Chair is responsible for ensuring the orderly conduct of Board meetings.  Individuals wishing to be heard by the Board will be recognized by the Board Chair.  All speakers shall clearly identify themselves, providing their name, current residential address and any affiliation with a group (if any) they are representing.  To be eligible to speak, an individual must be a resident of the district, an employee of the district, or invited by the Board or Superintendent to speak.  After identifying themselves, speakers may make brief comments. If time remains, after all speakers have been heard, a speaker may be recognized for a second time.  Speakers must limit their comments to the item under discussion.  Speakers should not expect the Board or the Superintendent to answer questions during the comment period.  Speakers may refer questions to the Superintendent during regular business hours.

All speakers must observe rules of common etiquette.  The Board Chair may set a time limit on the length of public comment and/or a time limit for individual speakers.  Generally, an individual will be limited to a maximum of five (5) minutes.  The Board Chair will stop any public comment that is contrary to these rules.  Persons who disrupt a Board meeting may be required to leave in order to permit the orderly consideration of the matters for which the meeting was called.

Except in an emergency, the Board will not take action on an issue before the Superintendent has had an opportunity to research the issue and make recommendations to the Board.

Cross reference: Board ByLaws – Agenda

KE – Public Concerns and Complaints

Policy Adopted: December 19, 1990

Policy Revised:   May 4, 1994, December 17, 2003 and December 21, 2005

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School Board Use of Electronic Mail – BEA

Use of electronic mail (e-mail) by school board members should conform to the same standards of judgment, propriety and ethics as other forms of school board-related communication.  Board members shall comply with the following guidelines when using e-mail in the conduct of board responsibilities:

  1. The School Board shall not use e-mail as a substitute for deliberations at Board meetings, for other communications or business properly confined to Board meetings, or in any way to defeat the purposes of the Freedom of Access Act.

  1. Board members should be aware that e-mail and e-mail attachments received or prepared for use in board business or containing information relating to board business are likely to be regarded as public records which may be inspected and copied by any person upon request, unless otherwise made confidential by law.

  1. Board members shall avoid reference to confidential information about employees, students or other matters in e-mail communications because of the risk of improper disclosure.  Board members should comply with the same standards as school employees with regard to confidential information.

NOTE: Any copying fees are to be paid by the person requesting the copy.

Legal Reference: 1 MRSA § 401 et seq.

20-A MRSA §§ 6001-6002

20 USC § 1232g

Cross Reference: GBJ – Personnel Records and Files

JRA – Student Educational Records

Policy Adopted: April 16, 2008

Policy Revised: May 15, 2013

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Student Representation to the School Board – BBAB

The MSAD # 35 Board of Directors endorses the concept of student access to the district decision-making process.  The Board wishes to provide students with the opportunity to offer advice and opinions on matters of common interest, to enhance communication and, to contribute to the MSAD # 35 community.

To create the environment for interaction among and between student representatives, School Board members, and district administration, the School Board will encourage participation in the regular meetings of the School Board.

Two students from Marshwood High School, one junior and one senior, will be recognized by the School Board as nonvoting representatives to the School Board and will be invited to participate on selected standing committees, as appointed by the School Board.

Both students will be selected by a method determined by the MHS Student Government organization and approved by the MSAD # 35 Board of Directors.  The senior selected the first year will serve a one-year term expiring on June 30 of his/her senior year.  The junior representative selected will serve a two-year term expiring on June 30 of his/her senior year.  After the initial year, a junior will be selected every year after to serve a two-year term with terms expiring on June 30 of his/her senior year.

Student Representatives will be subject to the same by-laws and rules as the community representatives of the Board of Directors.  Student Representatives must attend a workshop held by the Superintendent of Schools and Board Chair prior to participation in their first meeting.

Executive Sessions of the Board of Directors and its subcommittees are not open to student representatives.  No confidential information or documents will be provided to student representatives.

Once adopted, this policy will be reviewed two years from the date of adoption.

Cross Reference: JIB

Policy Adopted:  February 27, 2008

Policy Revised: May 20, 2013

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