St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School
St. Cloud, Florida
Constitution & By-Laws of the School Board
PREAMBLE TO CONSTITUTION
According to Canon Law, the Bishop, as the chief catechist of the Diocese, has final authority over all Catholic schools. Each School is an expression of the educational mission of its Parish and of the Diocese. Therefore, the Pastor is responsible to the Bishop for the administration of the total Parish, including the Parish’s School. The Principal functions as the chief administrator of the School and is directly responsible to the Pastor for the School. The School Board serves as a consultative body to the Principal on behalf of the School and its community.
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School is operated by St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, St. Cloud, Florida, a Catholic Parish of the Diocese of Orlando. The School is established to carry out the teaching ministry of the Catholic Church. As such, the religious and academic programs are and shall at all times continue to be in accordance with the teachings and laws of the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Orlando.
At this time, it is the intention of the Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish to establish a School Board, as a "consultative Board" as defined in A PRIMER OF EDUCATIONAL GOVERNANCE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, to assist him and his appointed Principal in the governance of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School.
ARTICLE I— NAME
The name of this body shall be the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School Board, hereinafter referred to as the Board.
ARTICLE II— PURPOSE AND FUNCTION
The Consultative Board is established to assist the Principal and ultimately the Pastor by providing advice and counsel particularly in the following areas:
- Strategic Planning
- To assist in formulating strategic goals for the long-term direction of the School.
- To assist in formulating the School mission statement.
- Policy Formulation
- To provide advice and counsel with regard to policies in areas determined by the Pastor and Principal.
- Evaluation of policies
- To evaluate the effectiveness of the Principal in implementing and administrating board policy.
- To perform self-evaluation of the Board and evaluate policies, plans, and mission effectiveness.
- Institutional Advancement/Development
- To provide advice and counsel with regard to the establishment and maintenance of comprehensive programs of institutional advancement and to enhance the image, enrollment, and financial viability of the School.
- Financial Planning and Financial Management
- To provide advice and counsel with regard to long-range financial planning, annual budget development, tuition, monitoring of fundraising, budget monitoring, and financial reporting.
- Communication and Mission Enhancement
- To provide advice and counsel with regard to communicating School policies and activities to the various School constituencies.
- To promote the educational program of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School.
- To provide advice and counsel with regard to both mission effectiveness and mission enhancement.
- Review & Update
- To provide periodic review and update the Constitution & By-Laws of the Board.
The Board has no authority for formulating policies separate from the Pastor and Principal. The Board does not have responsibility for determining the amount of Parish funds in support of the School and has no responsibility with regard to school curriculum, staff/personnel or students. The Board shall at no time act independently of the Pastor, who ultimately is responsible for religious education in the Parish, or the Principal, who ultimately is responsible for the administration of the School.
ARTICLE III — RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER GROUPS
- Diocese of Orlando
- Regular information from the Diocese of Orlando concerning Diocesan policies impacting Catholic primary education shall be provided by the Principal to the Board. The Principal shall implement Diocesan school policies formulated by the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools, approved by the Bishop, and promulgated by the Diocesan Superintendent of Schools.
- Parish/Pastoral and Finance Councils
- The Board shall work in a cooperative and collaborative manner with the Parish/Pastoral and Finance Councils of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. Regular communication, including minutes of the Board meetings, shall be forwarded to the Pastor. It is essential that good communication exists between all Parish groups. The relationship that exists is one of information sharing and common planning for the benefit of the entire parish community.
- A representative of the Council of Catholic Women shall serve on the Board as a voting member from the Parish. She will be responsible for being a liaison between the Board and the Council of Catholic Women.
- A representative from the Knights of Columbus shall serve on the Board as a voting member from the Parish. He will be responsible for being a liaison between the Board and the Knights of Columbus.
- Parent Organization
- An officer of the Parent-Teacher organization (PTO), or a designated representative appointed by the Principal, shall serve as a member of the Board with voting rights. The relationship between the Board and the parent-teacher organization shall be characterized by a common vision, clarity of responsibilities, good communication, and collaboration.
- The relationship between the Board and the faculty shall be characterized by mutual support, good communication, and cooperation. The Principal or a designated member of the faculty shall represent the faculty to the Board. From time to time, teachers and/or administrative team members may be invited to share information with the Board on matters concerning the School. The Board shall have no role in hiring, evaluating, terminating or renewing teachers.
ARTICLE IV — MEMBERSHIP
- Membership Defined
- The Board shall consist of a minimum of twelve (12) total members, but no more than sixteen (16) members.
- In accordance with Diocesan standards, but at the discretion of the Pastor, not less than 50% of the Board shall consist of Parish members who are not parents or guardians of students at the Parish School. This percentage may be achieved by appointment by the Pastor and may include the representatives from Catholic organizations listed below.
- Four (4) members that represent parents or guardians of students at the School, who shall have voting rights.
- For (4) members of the Parish appointed by the Pastor, who shall have voting rights.
- One (1) representative from the Parents Association (PTO), who shall have voting rights.
- One (1) representative from the Council of Catholic Women, who shall have voting rights.
- One (1) representative from the Knights of Columbus, who shall have voting rights.
- One (1) faculty representative who shall be ex officio and not have voting rights.
- The Principal shall serve as an ex officio member of the Board, without voting rights, and shall serve as the Board's administrative officer.
- The Athletic Director may serve as ex officio members of the board, at the discretion of the Pastor and Principal, without voting rights.
- The Principal may appoint the Assistant Principal to serve on the Board, in an ex officio capacity without voting rights.
- The Pastor shall serve as an ex officio member of the Board, without voting rights.
- Categories of Membership
The membership of the Board shall be as follows:
- Parents and Guardians – The Board, Pastor, and Principal shall insure that this category of membership is representative of the entire School (Pre-K through 8th Grade). The diversity of the Board and appointments to insure the continued diversity shall be determined at the discretion of the Principal when a consensus of the Board cannot be reached.
The Board shall establish an internal Board policy with regard to nominations. A Committee of Board members consisting of the Principal and three Board members appointed by the President of the Board shall seek out and prepare a slate of prospective Board member nominees who meet the following criteria:
- 1.Interest in and commitment to Catholic education in general, and a specific commitment to the mission and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School.
- 2.Availability to attend meetings and periodic in-service programs and to participate in committee work.
- 3.Ability to maintain high levels of integrity and confidentiality.
- 4.Ability to deal with situations as they relate to the good of the educational ministry of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and School.
- 5.Capacity to give witness to Christian and moral values within the school and parish communities.
- 6.Willingness to participate in and provide leadership for resource development programs for the School. It is the expectation that all Board members will financially support the School to the best of their ability, consistent with the Board's goal as presented in the annual development plan.
- Parish Representatives – alums, parents of alums, leaders within the civic, business, and professional communities, area educators or pastors and Catholic organizations (Knights of Columbus, Council of Catholic Women), etc.
- Special Committee Members – In the event that a committee is formed to carry out the mission of the Board, Principal, or Pastor, the appointment of the non-board committee members must be approved by the Pastor and Principal. At no time shall the Board act to form a committee of the Board without this approval.
Employees of the Parish and School and members of their immediate family, other than those who serve in ex officio positions, may not sit on the Board. At their discretion, the Pastor and Principal can waive this exclusion if they feel that no conflict of interest applies.
- Appointment and Terms
Each Board Member, other than an ex officio member, shall be appointed by the Pastor for a one year term. Terms shall begin at the first meeting following the annual meeting and shall end at the annual meeting occurring at the end of the member’s term. Each ex officio member shall serve only during the time he or she serves in the designated position that establishes the ex officio appointment. Following an ex officio appointment, an ex officio member shall not be eligible for appointment as a Board member in the year immediately subsequent, but may be appointed after not serving on the Board for one (1) year.
Board terms may be reappointed annually.
- Resignation and Removal of Board Members
- Any Board member may resign at any time by giving written notice to the President of the Board. Such resignation shall take effect at the time specified therein.
- A Board member may be removed by the Pastor or Principal if he or she determines that removal is in the best interest of the Parish and School.
Any vacancy on the Board may be filled by the Pastor upon recommendation of the Board President and Principal for the unexpired portion of the term in the same manner as provided for in the original appointment.
Any Board member who is absent from three (3) successive regular Board meetings or a total of three (3) unexcused absences from Board meetings in a year shall be deemed to have resigned as a Board member unless reinstated with written approval of the Pastor.
ARTICLE V — OFFICERS
The Officers of the Board shall be the President, Vice-President and Secretary, all of whom shall be elected annually by and from the Board membership, subject to ratification by the Pastor. The election of Officers shall take place at the annual meeting in May, by a majority vote. Any officer may be removed at any time (with or without cause) by a majority vote of the Board at a meeting properly called in accordance with the terms of these by-laws.
- Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall consist of the Principal serving as administrative officer and the President, Vice-President and Secretary.
The duties of the Officers shall be:
- President - The President shall preside at all regular and special meetings of the Board. The President shall also preside at Executive Committee meetings at which the Board agenda and packet is prepared. It shall be the President’s responsibility to create and deliver the meeting agenda and packet to all Board members at least seven (7) days prior to the scheduled meeting. The President, with Board approval, shall have authority to assign additional duties and responsibilities to individual Board members. No individual shall be eligible to serve as President of the Board without having completed two years of service on the Board or a similar governance body. The President of the Board shall be a practicing Catholic.
- Vice-President - In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall perform all duties of the President. In the event that the President resigns from the Board, the Vice-President shall assume the role of President of the Board and be responsible for all duties designated to the President of the Board. The Vice-President shall be a member of the Executive Committee. The Vice-President of the Board shall be a practicing Catholic.
- Secretary - The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping accurate minutes, for keeping a record of the appointment of all committees of the Board, and for all correspondence. Any of the duties of the Secretary may be performed by an assistant Secretary who shall be responsible to and report to the Secretary. The Secretary shall also be responsible for keeping a permanent record of terms, attendance, and committee assignments and all reports and documents relating to Board activities. The Secretary, in cooperation with the Principal acting as administrative officer to the Board, shall ensure the timely distribution of Board member packets in advance of Board meetings.
- Administrative Officer – The Principal shall serve as Administrative Officer to the Board. In that capacity, the Principal is a member of the Executive Committee. The Principal may also call meetings of the Executive Committee and shall be responsible for bringing information to the Board, including Diocesan policies and plans.
The term of office for Board officers, except the administrative officer (Principal), who serves ex officio, shall begin with their May appointment, ending with the appointment of a successor the following year. A second consecutive term is allowable.
ARTICLE VI — MEETINGS
- Regular Meetings
Regular meetings of the Board shall be held at least monthly during the school months of August through May, with one meeting to be held prior to the start of school. No fewer than eight regular meetings per year shall take place.
- Special Meetings
Special Meetings may be called by the Pastor, the President, or the Principal or by written request of one-third (1/3) of the Board members. Five days' written notice must be provided prior to Special Meetings. Executive sessions can be called by the Pastor, Principal, or Board President.
- Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting shall be the last meeting of the Board held in May of each year, or if no meeting is held in May, then in the following month in which a regular meeting is held, it shall be designated as the Annual Meeting for the purposes of election of officers and any annual reports.
- Time, Place, and Notice
- All regularly scheduled meetings shall be held at such times and places as planned by the President or by a majority of the Board at the annual meeting.
- Any person seeking to come before the Board shall provide written notice to the Pastor, Principal, or President at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting for inclusion in the agenda.
- All special meetings may be called by the Pastor, Principal, or President. Notice of the place, date, and time of the special meeting must be delivered in writing or by telephone with reasonable notice given.
- Meeting Protocol
- All regular meetings of the Board shall be open to all interested parties, and notice of the regular meetings shall be posted in the Parish bulletin and School publications. The President shall establish a meeting agenda that provides for non-board members to address the Board at the beginning of the meeting during the “open” portion of the meeting. Furthermore, the President shall establish a time limit for the “open” portion of the meeting and a definitive agenda directive establishing when the “closed” portion of the meeting will begin.
- As much as possible, the Board shall reach consensus on all actions.
- Parliamentary Rules – If needed, the President will appoint a parliamentarian and parliamentary rules (Robert’s Rules of Order, most recent publication date) shall be used as a guide.
- Quorum – A simple majority of the voting members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for each meeting.
The Board shall establish a permanent repository for its records including all policies adopted by it, minutes of meetings and committees of the Board. These records shall be available to all Board members, the Pastor, and Superintendent of Schools. Minutes of regular Board meetings should be available to members of the parish.
- Conduct of Meetings
The ordinary order of meetings shall be:
OPEN PORTION OF THE MEETING
- Opening Prayer
- Recite School Mission Statement
- Roll Call/Establish Quorum
- Approval of Minutes
- Principal’s Report
- Staff Representative Report
- PTO Report
- CCW Report
- Knights of Columbus Report
- Finance Officer’s Report
- Committee Reports
- Old Business
- New Business – Next Meeting Date
- Open Forum for Parents, Staff and/or the Parish community to address the Board (Time limit at the discretion of the President)
- Pastor’s Remarks
- Closing Prayer
- CLOSED PORTION OF THE MEETING
ARTICLE VII — COMMITTEES
The board shall establish various committees to serve as working groups to facilitate and expedite achievement of the school’s goals and objectives. These smaller working groups will consist of Board members and/or volunteer community members, as appropriate, and will strive to fully utilize the variety of talents and resources available in the community, for the benefit of the School.
These committees shall not have the authority to make decisions independent from the Board, but rather, will present options and recommendations to be considered and acted on by the larger Board.
Every Board member shall be required to participate with or chair the committee that they have been assigned to by the President of the Board according to these by-laws.
- Standing Committees
The Standing Committees of the Board shall be:
- Executive Committee – Perform duties as described in Article V, Part C of these by-laws.
- Policy & Planning Committee – Review and assess the School’s current plans for the future as well as continue to develop plans to incorporate growth in all areas.
- Finance Committee – Perform duties as described in Article II, Part E of these by-laws.
- Development/Communications Committee – Assist the Principal with communicating the activities of the School to the Parish, City of St. Cloud, and Central Florida area. Assist with marketing & Public Relations.
- Mission Enhancement/Spirituality Committee – Monitor the School effort to follow our current mission statement and explore changes that will provide continued spiritual growth and a sound Catholic Identity.
- Buildings and Grounds Committee – Maintain inventory of the School’s current facilities and provide input to assist the Principal and Maintenance Staff to enhance the School in the most efficient and economical means.
- Alumni Committee – Develop and maintain an alumni database and maintain contact with alumni for communication and assistance for the purpose of fundraising, Parish involvement, and fellowship.
- Technology Committee – Maintain inventory of the School’s current technology equipment and assist in the evaluation of that equipment in order to make recommendations that will help keep the School up to date. Explore changes to the current procedures that will insure that the current technology equipment is being used to its fullest advantage.
- Committee Charges
Specific committee charges shall be adopted each year by the Board at its initial meeting. The President will appoint Board members to serve on or chair each of the Standing Committees. Non-board members of Standing Committees shall be solicited by appointed Board members for each of the committees and shall be drawn from the Parish and School communities; however, this position may be filled by non-Catholic or a person affiliated with another parish. The non-board members names shall be submitted for approval to the Administrative Officer (Principal), and once approved by the Principal and Pastor, may assume the duty of committee member. The President and the Administrative Officer of the Board shall be ex officio members of all Standing Committees.
- Special or Ad Hoc Committees
The Board may establish any special or ad hoc committee as needed.
ARTICLE VIII — COMPENSATION
Board members shall not receive compensation for their services; however, bona fide expenses may be reimbursed.
ARTICLE IX — CONFLICT/DUALITY OF INTEREST
Any Board member having an interest in a contract or other transaction coming before the Board or a committee of the Board shall give prompt, full, and frank disclosure of said interest to the Board President prior to the Board acting on such contract or transaction. Upon such disclosure, the Board member's interest shall be presented to the full Board. The Board shall determine, without participation by the interested member, at such time as disclosure is made to that body, whether the disclosure shows that a conflict of interest exists or can reasonably be construed to exist. If the Board determines that such a conflict does exist, such member shall not vote, use personal influences on, or participate in the discussions or deliberations with respect to such contract or transactions.
For purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to have an interest in a contract or other transaction if he or she is a party (or one of the parties) contracting or dealing with the Parish, or is a director, partner, officer, or immediate family member of a director, partner, officer, or has a significant financial or influential interest in the entity contracting or dealing with the School or Parish.
All Board members, voting or non-voting, are bound to maintain confidentiality with respect to information obtained in their role as Board members, including but not limited to verbal presentations, written materials, discussions and deliberations.
ARTICLE X — INDEMNIFICATION
Each member shall be indemnified against all expenses actually or necessarily incurred in connection with the defense of any action, suit or proceeding to which he or she has been made a party by reason of being or having been a Board member, except in relation to matters in which the Board member shall be adjudicated in an action, suit or other legal proceeding to be liable for gross negligence or willful misconduct in the performance of duty.
ARTICLE XI — AMENDMENTS
These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Board, written approval by the Pastor and written ratification of the Diocesan Superintendent of Schools. Board members must receive written notice of amendments and copies of proposed amendments two weeks prior to a vote to amend.
Adopted By:______________________________________ Date:_______________________
(Superintendent of Schools)
Board Officers & Committee Members
The following is a list of the School Board Officers and committee members for the school board
Pastor: _____Fr. Kent Walker________________ (ex officio)
Principal: _____Maura Cox_______________________ (ex officio)
Assistant Principal: Jean Askey (exofficio)
Director of Religious Ed.: _____Joseph Fey______________________ (ex officio)
Faculty Representative: _____Open (One Year Term)______ (ex officio)
Athletic Director: _____Tom Raymond (One Year Term)____ (ex officio)
CCW Representative: _____Judy Rieber(One Year Term) (Parish Representative)
Knights of Columbus Rep.: _____John Lambert (One Year Term) (Parish Representative)
PTO Representative: _____Michelle Kane (One Year Term)__ (School Representative)
Parishioner: Tom Reiber (2015)____________ (Parish Representative)
Parishioner: _______________________________ (Parish Representative)
Parishioner: _____Lee Radenbaugh___________ (Parish Representative)
Parishioner: _____Open_________________________ (Parish Representative)
Parent/Guardian: _____ _____________ (School Representative)
Parent/Guardian: ________________________________ (School Representative)
Parent/Guardian: _____Jean Cunningham Athas (2012)_ (School Representative)
Parent/Guardian: _____Open ___________________________ (School Representative)