A public school district cannot succeed without a good set of rules. Without a simple, accessible, legally-appropriate set of rules that are written for the stakeholders who will use them, a district will struggle.

 

Why EGS?

 

Most Missouri public school districts have grown dissatisfied with the options available for developing and maintaining the myriad of rules necessary to run a school district.

 

Board policies have become overwhelming—typically bloated with unnecessary, redundant legalese that must be frequently updated by the Board. Moreover, districts have become afraid to make their own district policies for fear that customizing district policies will require expensive legal review. As a result, many boards of education have relinquished local control of their school.

The difficulties experienced at the Board level are compounded at the administrative level. School administrators are expected to develop detailed administrative procedures for district operations that elaborate on the already lengthy and cumbersome board policies. Each year administrators must then filter through the applicable board policies and administrative procedures to create and maintain employee manuals for professional and support staff members. Similarly, administrators are expected to create and maintain handbooks for students and parents that incorporate district rules applicable to them.

 

Unfortunately, all of this can lead to school rules that are not readily accessible to the people who must know and follow those rules.

 

With this in mind, EdCounsel has developed a new approach for our clients. Based upon our service to more than forty percent of Missouri’s public schools in legal and school governance matters, we have developed a new system for Missouri’s public school districts—the EdCounsel Guide Service (EGS).

A new, simpler approach to your District's guiding documents.

EdCounsel serves over 200 Missouri Public School Districts.

The Five Components

EdCounsel Guide Service (EGS)

As part of the EGS, EdCounsel provides your District with model rules that will consist of the District Policies, the Board Operating Manual, the Administrative Manual, the Employee Manual and the Student/Parent Handbook. These tools are designed to provide the rules for an effective and efficient school system.

District Policies

The District Policies provide general guidance and rules for internal and external stakeholders.  Policies make broad statements of the District’s policy and include items that are required by law to be in policy.   District policies will include rules that apply to the public, the Board and administration, professional and support staff members, students and parents. The Superintendent and administrative staff will assist the Board in review and revision of District policies. District policies will be approved by the Board and posted on the District’s website.

Board Operating Manual

The Board Operating Manual provides guidance for the Board to fulfill responsibilities as the elected, governing body.  It includes Board-approved internal procedures and practices for the Board, and outlines the expectations of individual Board members and Board leadership.  The Board Operating Manual also includes basic commitments, Board norms, and expectations for the partnership between the Superintendent and the Board. The Superintendent will assist the Board in review and revision of the Board Operating Manual, which will be approved annually by the Board.

Administrative Procedures Manual

This manual contains general rules and direction for the administrative operations of the District.   It provides general procedures to implement District policies and Board direction that are developed and approved by the Superintendent.  While the Board may wish to periodically review the Administrative Manual, the Superintendent has the authority to make modifications to the manual without Board approval, unless otherwise directed by the Board.

Employee Manual

The Superintendent is also responsible for an Employee Manual to provide direction to the District’s professional and support staff. The Employee Manual provides employees information regarding benefits and rules for the workplace.  The manual has superintendent developed, Board approved guidance and direction for employees of the District and contains items and notices required by law.  The Board will annually review and approve the Employee Manual. Once adopted or amended, the Superintendent will inform district staff about the Employee Manual provisions they are expected to use and follow.

Student/Parent Handbook

The Student/Parent Handbook is a key tool for communication to students and parents of the District.  It contains Superintendent developed and Board approved information, guidance, and rules, as well as items and notices required by law. This Handbook will be approved annually by the Board prior to distribution to students and parents. The Handbook will also be posted on the District’s website.

Finally, a District policy system that makes sense!

Customization

In addition to providing the model documents, experienced attorneys and educators will work with your district representatives to customize the documents to suit your district’s needs.

Legal Interpretation of Your EGS Documents

Following adoption, experienced EdCounsel attorneys will provide advice regarding the interpretation of the guiding documents, all as part of the EGS. If questions arise regarding the interpretation of rule, or if the District wants to consider a revision to further customize the documents, EdCounsel attorneys will advise and assist District representatives with no extra charge, all as part of the EGS service.

Installation and Training 

Following adoption, EdCounsel attorneys will assist and advise District representatives in the transition from your current policy structure to the EGS system. We will provide you with tools, advice, training and assistance to make the transition a smooth one. This requires an assessment of the current policies in place, as well as any Board, staff or student/parent issues that may be impacted by changing policies. We will also provide in-person training to the Board and administrative team to orient District representatives as to how the EGS can work for you in your District.

Your EGS Team

Duane Martin

School Attorney

Emily Omohundro

School Attorney

Dana Clippard

Educator

Jim

Hinson

Educator