Board of Education
Board of Education
The New Canaan Board of Education is pleased to be the bridge between our community and our school system. Pursuant to Connecticut state law and our By-Laws, we are the municipal body within New Canaan which governs public education in our Town.
Among our primary duties are the identification of educational goals to be met by the school District; the consideration and approval of an annual budget for submission to the Board of Selectman, the Board of Finance and the Town Council; the selection of a Superintendent, who serves as the executive officer of the Board; and the employment of principals, teachers and other school employees. A full list of the duties of the Board of Education is set forth in our By-Laws.
Election of Members
The Board of Education is an elected body consisting of nine unpaid members. No more than a majority of six members may represent the same political party on the Board. Members are elected for four-year overlapping terms, with five members' terms expiring at one election and the other four at the subsequent election. Board elections are held in odd-numbered years during municipal elections. Political parties may nominate candidates or candidates may run as independent petitioning candidates. For further information, see the New Canaan Town Charter or contact the Town Clerk's office.
In the event of a vacancy in the office of any member of the Board, the position is filled by a vote of the remaining members of the Board, and the new member serves until the next biennial municipal election.
The operation of the Board of Education is governed by Connecticut state law and our By-Laws. The By-Laws provide for three officers, a Chairman, Vice Chairman and a Secretary, each of whom is elected by the Board. Currently, our By-Laws provide for two standing committees, a Budget Committee and a Governance Committee. Special committees may be appointed from time to time for special purposes as the Board find is it desirable to establish such committees.
The duties of the Board include developing specific policies with respect to the operation of our school system. Currently there are 107 such policies that have been adopted by the Board. These policies relate to a wide variety of matters, ranging from Gifts to School Personnel (Policy #1305) to School Bus Transportation (Policy #3800) to Bullying Behavior in the Schools (Policy #5162). If there is an important issue concerning our school system or our students, it is likely that there will be an existing Board policy associated with that issue. Parents and other interested persons are urged to review our Policies, which are updated periodically, in order to better understand the manner in which our District operates.
Meetings are typically held on alternate Mondays nights in the Wagner Room at the New Canaan High School. If Monday is a holiday, then the meetings will be held on Tuesday night. Ordinarily meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. The schedule for upcoming meetings is publicly available. Agendas, including administration presentations and other backup materials, are usually posted on this website by the previous Friday afternoon.
The annual meeting of the Board is held and the term of office of the three Board officers begins on the second Monday following the most recent election of Board members.
The minutes of our meetings, as well as meetings of any special committees, are available to the public.
Meetings of the Board of Education are televised live and on a delayed basis on Channel 78. The showings occur on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and on Monday afternoons at 4:00 p.m.
Public Participation at Board Meetings
Board of Education meetings are meetings in public rather than public meetings. However, to ensure the public's right to be heard on school-related topics, the Board has set aside time at the beginning and end of each meeting. Two minutes are allotted to each speaker and a maximum of 15 minutes are set aside for public comments. While the Board does not engage in dialogue with members of the public, individuals are free to discuss any school-related topic of their choosing, and we welcome their input. Obviously, any comments of a threatening or other otherwise abusive nature will not be permitted.
Items on the Agenda
Major decisions are usually on the agenda for at least two meetings. The first meeting, called a "first-read," is typically devoted to discussion by the Board and members of the school administration. A vote on the pending decision is ordinarily taken at the second meeting or the "second read." As discussed in more detail above, the public may comment on agenda topics at either the start or the conclusion of a meeting.
Contacting Board Members
The Board of Education relies on input from New Canaan citizens to help us make informed decisions about what is best for our school system. Letters and e-mails are always welcome, but please remember that all communications sent to Town boards and officials become part of the public record and are subject to legal requirements for disclosure and retention.
Parents who wish to express an opinion on an issue before the Board, but cannot attend a meeting, may write to the Chairman in care of the Board of Education, 39 Locust Avenue, New Canaan, CT 06840. Communications will be distributed to all Board members. All Board members may be reached by e-mail; their names and contact information, including e-mail addresses, are listed on this site (BOE Members), and an "e-mail-to-all" option is also provided.
Since all communications are an important part of the public dialogue, we ask you to include your name and postal address. E-mails should include a full message in the body, not just a summary in the subject line. E-mails sent to or to an individual board member may be shared with all Board members, at the discretion of the recipient.
Thank you for participating in the Town's decision-making process.