A couple of years ago, the Hilliard City School District's board policies were available in a single copy in each building and library. Now, they're online.
A couple of years ago, the Hilliard City School District's board policies were available in a single copy in each building and library. Now they're online.
"With changing technology and changing times, we're finding that it's much more convenient and accessible getting it on our website," said Tim Hamilton, assistant superintendent of operations.
If the policy is being reviewed, a draft of proposed changes can be seen on the board agenda, which is typically available the Friday afternoon before a school board meeting at the district's site.
"Some of them are nothing more than a cross-reference to an Ohio Revised Code update or a policy that's changing in another portion of our book, but we're chasing that detail," Hamilton said.
Policy changes are given three readings at school board meetings to allow public input.
"The (public's) comments usually come between the first and second reading and that's the intent, so that if they have any questions, we can get them answered; and if they want any changes, it allows the whole board to look," Hamilton said.
Parent involvement has helped change the district's policies in the past, such as with food allergies, Hamilton said. They become part of a standing committee that meets quarterly to review some, but not all, of the district's board policies.
"A lot of those policies are reflective of current senate and house bills that get passed, and they trend," Hamilton said. "Right now, the focus is a lot on internet safety and cyber-bullying."
Hamilton said that every district has a different process for policy review, but "this is what has evolved and become pretty successful and comfortable for this district."
"This is a very transparent district," said district spokeswoman Amanda Morris. "We try to be very open and honest with our residents about what it is the district is doing and this is one example. The full policy is available online, and we have three readings before they're approved. Three readings aren't necessary, but we want everyone - the board and the public - to have the chance to have their voice heard."
Policy changes are voted on by the board at the third reading. For example, at the Feb. 13 school board meeting, the board unanimously approved changes to food sale standards, criminal records checks, staff vacations and holidays, reduction in work force, textbook selection, graduation requirements, student fees and fines, and other matters.
"One of the most important things that we do as a board is oversee the policies, because it's how we carry out our mission and our vision of the school district," said board president Lisa Whiting, who with board member Heather Keck is on the policy committee.
Whiting said that if somebody has a question, "I want them to have direct access to our policies. It's very clear on our website. We've worked at getting even the table of contents so it's as user-friendly as it can be, so if people are looking for something specific it's easy for them to find."
To view the policies, visit www.hilliardschools.org/board/policy/.