June 15/15: Board Meeting: The Record Off The Record: The Motion, Not The Member


For Robert’s Rules of Order terms defined, see any number of sources online, including Nancy Sylvester’s informative site, and the Robert’s Rules for Dummies site. The current Robert’s Rules Newly Revised, 11th Edition is not available online.

Bylaw 9368 Procedure of Board Meetings

  • “104.02 Trustees shall be permitted to debate only upon a motion, as herein provided, and each trustee shall be limited to the opportunity to speak once to any motion, unless the motion has been amended, for a majority vote of the Board. The proposer of a motion shall be given the opportunity to open and close debate of his motion. The mover of the principle [sic] motion shall have the right to speak for five minutes to the motion and shall be allowed five minutes to conclude the debate on the motion.”
  • This is interesting, as some Board members  have said  ‘We operate on relaxed rules”, possibly meaning “Procedure For Small Boards” (beginning p 487 RROR 11th Edition). The SD61 Board follows some of the small board rules but not all. Not surprising, as Robert’s Rules have been in the past characterized as “nit-picking” by some Trustees.
  • RROR says for small boards (under 12 members), “There is no limit to the number of times a member can speak to a debatable question.” It’s apparent that  a previous Board decided Robert’s was too loose on this issue, as the Bylaw prevails.
  • SD61 Bylaw 9368 Procedure states: “In all meetings of the Board of Trustees, procedures shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, except where provisions of the bylaws of the Board or the Schools Act may conflict, in which case the latter shall prevail.” 

So “speak once to a motion” is in place, although never enforced.

Bylaw 9130.1 Ed Policy

  • “4.The Education Policy Development Committee shall meet … for the purpose of providing direction to administration on the development of new educational policies and to review Board motions which require translation to educational policy. In addition, the Committee shall, from time to time as it sees fit, make recommendations to the Board in respect of educational policy for the District.

Bylaw 9130.2 Operations Policy and Planning 

  • 4. The Operations Policy and Planning Committee shall meet … for the purpose of developing for Board consideration major impact areas related to: a) all personnel matters; b) all financial and legal matters; c) all matters related to the facilities required to provide educational programs; d) information technology and planning matters.”

Bylaw 9130: Standing Committees of the Board

  • “The purpose of each standing committee shall be firstly to clarify issues that need to be referred to the Board for review and decision making and, secondly, to present policy recommendations for Board consideration.”
  • 3. The Chairperson of the Board shall be an ex officio member of both Committees, with voting rights.
  • 4. All members of the Education Policy Development Committee shall be ex officio members of the Operations Policy and Planning Committee with voting rights.
  • 5. All members of the Operations Policy and Planning Committee shall be ex officio members of the Education Policy Development Committee with voting rights.
  • 6. A quorum is a majority of trustee members on the committee.”

So, what’s “ex officio”? Ex officio” is a Latin term meaning “by virtue of office or position.” Ex-officio members of committees are members as the result of  some other office or position that they hold. Ex-officio members of boards and committees have exactly the same rights and privileges as do all other members, including the right to vote. They are not counted for quorum  in the case of the Chair whenever the bylaws provide that the president shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.  [RRONR (11th ed.), pp. 483-84; p. 497, ll. 20-29.]

Letters from BC School Boards

  • to the Minister of Education, and others on a variety of topics here on a BCSTA page.  These letters often come out daily if ther is an emergent issue. Board Chairs write these  at direction of the majority of Trustees on their Board.  These letters are generally written by District staff.

Letters from the SD61 Board Chair

  • to the Minister of Education and others on the SD61 Board Advocacy page. (My motion to set up Advocacy page carried  so you can find letters sent by Chair on various topics related to public education / SD61 in particular, and replies.) Chair writes letters following directions of Board via motions carried by the majority of 9 votes, or consensus on occasion. Chair cannot originate letters independently on behalf of the Board. These letters generally completely or partially written  by District staff.


About Diane McNally