Ask AASB

Here are answers to questions we frequently get asked. Got a question? Email Timi Tullis or Lon Garrison.

Q: What are the reasons a board can go into Executive Session?

A: There are four reasons to enter Executive Session. Here are examples of Motion Statements:

Finance:  President, I move that the Board go into an executive session in order that we may discuss matters, the immediate knowledge of which would have an adverse effect upon the finance of the District.

Personnel: President, I move that the Board go into an executive session to discuss subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of any person.

Finance & Personnel: President, I move that the Board go into an executive session in order that we may discuss matters, the immediate knowledge of which would have an adverse effect upon the finances of the District and to discuss subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of any persons; in matters that are required by law to be kept confidential.

Confidential Matters: President, I move that the Board go into an executive session to discuss matters, which by law, municipal charter, or ordinance are required to be confidential.

Q: What is the process for filling a vacant seat on our board? 

A: Our suggested board bylaw 9223 states:

Appointment to the Board
A vacancy on the Board shall be filled within 30 days of the vacancy by Board appointment.  When making an appointment to the Board, the Board desires to draw from the widest possible number of candidates.

The Board shall:
1. Advertise the vacancy in suitable local media.
2. Solicit applications or nominations of any legally qualified citizen interested in serving on the Board.
3. Provide candidates with appropriate information regarding Board member responsibilities.
4. Announce names of candidates and accept public input either in writing or at a public meeting.
5. Interview the candidates at a public meeting.
6. Select the provisional appointee by majority vote at a public meeting.

The person appointed shall hold office until the next regularly scheduled election for district Board members and shall be afforded all the powers and duties of a Board member upon appointment.

Q: Are there, or will there be, any updated policies specifically related to Sexual Assault & Dating Violence?

A: Annual updates for Policy Update and Policy Online subscribers come out in late February/early March. We strive to release timely updates to new regulations as their effective dates approach.

Q: Is there a statute regarding an Advisory School Board (ASB) holding an executive session?

A: Yes, Alaska’s open meeting law excludes advisory boards from holding executive sessions if they have no authority regarding decisions or policy concerning personnel or financial matters. Because of their advisory capacity only, ASBs do not qualify for any of the conditions in paragraph (c) items 1 through 4 of the Alaska Open Meetings Act. Check your Board’s meeting policy, BP 8320 MEETINGS, for more detailed information on Advisory School Board meetings.

Q: Is there a generic ‘job description’ for board members on committees?

A: There are some duties outlined in our AASB Board of Director policy manual. See the policy manual pages that discuss board member duties in this linked PDF file.

Q: What are some questions to use during interviews when filling a vacant slot on our board? What should we be asking potential new board members?

  • What skill set do you bring to the board?
  • What do you think it takes to create a team that can work toward a common objective and what would you bring to that team?
  • What is your understanding of the relationship between a board and the superintendent?
  • Explain your understanding of “governance” and “management”.
  • Why do you want to be a school board member?
  • Tell us about your experiences with the ABC schools.
  • If selected as a school board member how would see your role with the community/parents/students/staff?
  • If you could change one thing about our school, what would that be?
  • What area of school board service interests you the most?

Q: Should a School Board’s by-laws state the amount of time a board meeting should be in session (ie. 7-9PM or 6-10PM?)

A: Some boards have a bylaw specifying the latest that meetings can extend to. If they go beyond that time they must vote to suspend the bylaws to continue the meeting.  However, most boards have nothing in their bylaws regarding the length of meetings. This is a local preference.

Q: What are the rules on making the newly elected Board Members official after an election. How many days do we have?

A: It is outlined in statue 14.14.070: “Within seven days after the certification of the results of each regular election, the school board shall meet and elect one its members as president, on e as clerk, and, if necessary, one as treasurer.”

Q: When a site closes in a Regional Educational Attendance Area (REAA) can sites still have an Advisory School Board?

State statute asserts that the REAA must establish an ASB for any community over 50 people of permanent residence (paragraph a). Paragraph (b) speaks to what the advisory boards’ purpose is but if there is no school to advise and advocate for then the question becomes what is their purpose?  The reality may be that if a community has no school it may be nearly impossible to create and keep filled an ASB.  “Sec. 14.08.115. Advisory school boards in regional educational attendance areas.

(a) A regional school board shall establish advisory school boards in each community in the regional educational attendance area that has more than 50 permanent residents, and by regulation shall prescribe their manner of selection and organization, and, in a manner consistent with (b) of this section, their powers and duties.

(b) An advisory board shall advise the regional school board on all matters concerning schools in the community in which the advisory board is established. (§ 2 ch 24 SLA 1979; am §§ 6, 7 ch 173 SLA 1990)

Q: My board is wanting to go paperless, what can AASB do to help us with this?

AASB has developed a partnership with the Texas School Boards Association who has developed BoardBook®, a paperless meetings tool available from AASB to our members. Boardbook’s web browser-based agenda-preparation tool streamlines the compiling, distributing, and publishing of agenda packets. It also generates an online searchable archive of meeting agendas, documents, and minutes.

Boardbook is used by the AASB board of directors, as well as by many Alaska school districts. Customer service and technical support from BoardBook is exceptional, and feedback from district users has been very positive. The subscription fee is $2,250 annually.

To learn more about Boardbook, read the flyer or contact lgarrison@nullaasb.org.

Q: What are the kinds of workshops that AASB can offer my board or APC?

We are happy to customize any workshop your board may need. Some of the workshop topics we offer are listed below. One item we strongly encourage every board to do is a board self-evaluation and goal setting session. Nearly every board we work with rates this as one of the best activities they do to help their board work better and to understand its role in guiding the direction of the school district.

School Board Training Topics

  • Board self-evaluation (facilitated)
  • Board self-improvement goals for the coming year
  • Board & Superintendent roles and responsibilities
  • Advisory School Board roles & responsibilities
  • New developments in superintendent evaluations
  • Open Meetings act
  • Conducting effective board meeting using Roberts Rules of order
  • Budgeting – Establishing and understanding your budget process
  • Budgeting – Understanding your budget reports
  • The board’s role in standards, curriculum, and instructional material review and adoption.
  • Your Fiduciary Responsibility
  • The importance of board policy & by laws (including a review of the board’s existing by laws)
  • Setting board goals for the coming year
  • The board’s role in using data to drive decisions
  • Embracing community engagement

Advisory School Board Training Topics

  • Board self-evaluation (facilitated)
  • Board self-improvement goals for the coming year
  • Advisory School Board roles & responsibilities
  • Open Meetings Act
  • Conducting effective board meeting using Roberts Rules of order
  • The board’s role in standards, curriculum, and instructional material review and adoption.
  • The importance of board policy & by laws (including a review of the board’s existing by laws)
  • Setting board goals for the coming year
  • The advisory board’s role in affecting student achievement
  • Communication: ASB – RSB- Superintendent – School Administration
  • Understanding student achievement data
  • Embracing community engagement

Charter School  APC Training Topics

  • APC self-evaluation (facilitated)
  • Roles and responsibilities of and APC vs Staff
  • Importance of doing a principal evaluation annually
  • Open Meetings act
  • Conducting effective meetings using Roberts Rules of order
  • Your Fiduciary Responsibility
  • The importance of policy & by laws
  • Setting goals for the coming year
  • Communicating with your principal!