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Ray Lewis Elementary School – School Council Constitution

Table of Contents
1.0 Mission/Objective of Council 5.6 Community Representative
2.0 Code of Ethics 5.7 Principal
3.0 Structure of the Council 6.0 Meetings
3.1 6.1 Attendance at Meetings
3.2 6.2 Quorum
3.3 7.0 Meeting Agenda
4.0 Roles and Responsibilities of School Council 8.0 Nomination and Election Procedures/Vacancies
5.0 Roles and Responsibilities of School Council Members 8.1 Election of Parent/Guardian Representative Procedure
5.1 Chair/Co-Chair 8.2 Selection of Community Representatives
5.2 Secretary/Co-Secretary 9.0 Voting Procedures of School Council Issues
5.3 Treasurer/Co-Treasure 10.0 Review/Amendments to the Constitution
5.4 Committee Chairs 11.0 Fundraising
5.5 Parent/Guardian Representatives 11.1 Requests for Funds

1.0 Mission/Objective of Council

The purpose of School Council is, through the active participation of parents/guardians, to improve pupil achievement and to enhance the accountability of the education system to parents/guardians.The Council’s objective is to support Ray Lewis Elementary School’s Mission and Vision and Value statements. We shall provide parents/guardians, students, staff, and community members with a forum for ideas, advice and recommendations in matters relating to the school system.

2.0 Code of Ethics

A member shall:

-consider the best interests of all students.

be guided by the school’s and the school board’s mission statements.

-act within the limits of the roles and responsibilities of a school council, as identified by the school’s operating guidelines, the school board, and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

-become familiar with the school’s policies and operating practices and act in accordance with them.

-maintain the highest standards of integrity.

-recognize and respect the personal integrity of each member of the school community.

-treat all other members with respect and allow for diverse opinions to be shared without interruption.

-encourage a positive environment in which individual contributions are encouraged and valued.

-acknowledge democratic principles and accept the consensus of the council.

-respect the confidential nature of some school business and respect limitations this may place on the operation of the school council.

-not disclose confidential information.

-limit discussions at school council meetings to matters of concern to the school community as a whole.

-use established communication channels when questions or concerns arise.

-promote high standards of ethical practice within the school community.

-declare any conflict of interest.

-not accept any payment or benefit financially through school council involvement.

3.0 Structure of the Council

All parents/guardians of students attending Ray Lewis Elementary School are welcome to attend all school council meetings.

Membership of the Council shall be comprised of the following:

  • the Principal of the school and/or the Vice-Principal
  • Minimum of 1 (but not limited to) Teacher Representative (this may be a rotating position)
  • 1 Community Representative
  • 1 Non-Teacher Representative
  • maximum of 20 Parent/Guardian Representatives (in all cases, the Parent/Guardian Representatives shall form the majority of the Council membership)
  • at the discretion of the Principal, a Student Representative


The Executive of the Council shall be elected from the Parent/Guardian Representatives in accordance with subsection 8.0.  The Executive shall be comprised of:

  • Chair/Co-Chair
  • Treasurer/Co-Treasurer
  • Secretary/Co-Secretary


Those parents/guardians acting as Representatives of the Council will do so in accordance to subsection 5.5 and 8.0 of this Constitution.


No two parents from the same family shall hold Parent/Guardian Representative positions.

4.0 Roles and Responsibilities of School Council

Ray Lewis Elementary School Council is an advisory committee.  School Council can advise and/or make recommendations to the Principal, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board or Trustees on any matter the Council identifies as a priority, excluding confidential issues.  Priorities can include, but are not limited to the following:

a)      local school year calendar

b)      school and Board policies on student behaviour, busing and transportation

c)      curriculum, programs, goals and priorities

d)      responses of School/School Board to student achievement in provincial and board assessment programs

e)      preparation of school profile

f)       the criteria & progress for the selection & placement of Principals and Vice Principals

g)      implementation plans for new education initiatives

h)      school budget priorities

i)       school communication strategies

j)       methods of reporting to parents and the community

k)      extra curricular activities in the school

l)       school based services and community based partnerships related to social, health, recreational or nutritional programs

m)    community use of the facility & coordination of local services for children and youth

n)     school/classroom organization

o)     development, implementation and review of Board policies at the local level

p)     school boundaries, school closures and twinning of schools

q)     purchases of textbooks and other learning material

r)      allocation of funding

5.0 Roles and Responsibilities of School Council Members

5.1 Chair/Co-Chair

  • chair school council meetings
  • prepare the agenda for school council meetings in consultation with the Principal
  • ensure that there is regular communication with the school community
  • participate in information and training meetings
  • identify Members of the Council who fail to attend meetings consistently
  • ensure that vacancies are filled
  • provide an annual report to the community and to the HWDSB outlining the School Council’s activities for the year

5.2 Secretary/Co-Secretary

The Secretary shall take minutes of all Council meetings and provide members with a copy.  The Secretary shall ensure that a copy of the minutes is kept on file in the office and that minutes are available to any member of the school community.

5.3 Treasurer/Co-Treasurer

The Treasurer shall keep the financial records for the Council, which shall include an up-to-date ledger.  The Treasurer shall provide the Council with current and accurate records of accounts at each general meeting.  At the beginning of the school year the Treasurer shall provide the school community and the HWDSB an accounting of the previous year’s financial records.

5.4 Committee Chairs

Committee Chairs may be selected by the Council as need arises to chair designated committee meetings.  The Committee Chair will report to the School Council Members at Council meetings.  Committee membership is open to all interested parties.  Committee members are responsible to the committee chair.

5.5 Parent/Guardian Representatives

Parent/Guardian Representatives of the School Council shall participate consistently in Council meetings.  It is expected that Parent /Guardian Representatives will attend and participate in a minimum of four Council meetings per school year.  Representatives will also participate in information and training programs, act as a link between the School Council and the community, and work on the Council as a representative of the School community as a whole, maintaining a school-wide perspective.  Parent/Guardian Representatives will be voting members of the Council.

5.6 Community Representative

The Community Representative may participate on any committee established by the School council, help build partnerships and links between the School and the community, will represent the community’s perspective, and will be a voting Member of the Council.

5.7 Principal

The school principal must be member of the School council.  A meeting cannot be considered a meeting of the School Council unless the Principal, or Vice-Principal is in attendance.  The Principal is not a voting member of the Council.

The Principal:

  • promptly shares to each council member the materials identified by the Ministry for distribution to school council members and posts the material in a school location accessible to parents/guardians
  • acts as a resource to the Council on laws, regulations and board policies
  • attends all School Council meetings, unless delegated to the Vice-Principal
  • considers each recommendation made by the School Council to the Principal and returns to the council with the action taken in response to the recommendation
  • solicits views on matters pertaining to the establishment or amendments of school policies and guidelines relating to student achievement, accountability of the education system to parents , and the communication of those plans to the public
  • may solicit the views of the School Council on any matter

6.0 Meetings

The School council shall have a minimum of four meetings during the school year; however, council may meet as much as deemed necessary.  The date for the first Council meeting in a school year will be determined at the last Council meeting of the previous school year.  The dates for subsequent Council meetings will be discussed and scheduled at the first Council meeting of the school year.

The meetings shall be in an open format with parents and community of the school invited to attend.  All those present must conduct themselves respectively in accordance with the Council’s Code of Ethics, the Ontario Code of Conduct, and the HWDSB’s code of Conduct Policy.

6.1 Attendance at Meetings

Parent/Guardian Representatives must attend a minimum of four Council meetings per school year.  If a Council Member is unable to attend a scheduled meeting, they are to contact the Chair/Co-Chair or the school office prior to the meeting.

Teacher & Non-Teaching Representatives may participate in Council Meetings on a rotating basis.

6.2 Quorum

A quorum of at least five Parent/Guardian Representatives (including the Chair/Co-Chair) and the Principal/Vice-Principal is required to conduct business.

7.0 Meeting Agenda

The Chair or Co-chairs shall meet with the Principal to set the agenda at least one week prior to the meeting.  The Chair or Co-Chairs shall prepare an agenda and forward a copy to all Council Members   one week prior to the meeting.  A copy of the agenda will be made available to all parents through the school newsletter and/or website.

Agenda items are to be submitted two weeks prior to the meeting to the principal or Chair/Co-Chairs.

8.0 Nomination and Election Procedures/Vacancies

The current School Council will set the date for the first Council meeting in a new school year at the last meeting of the previous school year.

Parent/Guardian nomination/self-nomination forms will be sent home with students the first week of the new school year. These forms must be returned to the school within a week.  The forms will be accompanied by information about the date of the first School Council meeting and the procedure for electing Council membership.  Any parent/guardian of a student enrolled at the school is eligible to declare their candidacy. Parents or guardians running for election must publicly declare if they are an employee of the HWDSB. If the number of candidates is less than or equal to 20, the candidates will be acclaimed. If more than 20 parents declare candidacy for representation on the Council, an election will be held within the first 30 days of the school year.

8.1 Election of Parent/Guardian Representative Procedure

Voting may be set up to take place over a one week period during specific times in the school, and may occur at a school event  (eg. Meet the Teacher Night).

Voting will be supervised by people not standing for election.

Ensure that one vote per parent/guardian is recorded on student voting lists.

Voters must be present at the school to vote.

Votes will be conducted by secret ballot.

Parents/guardians can vote for up to 20 candidates.

If more than one X is marked by a candidates name the ballot is disqualified.

The Principal, a Teacher, and 1 parent not a candidate will count the ballots.

The names of successful candidates are released to the public in a newsletter announcing the date and time of the first School Council meeting.

8.2 Selection of Community Representative

A Community Representative to the School council shall be appointed by Council or elected by majority vote at the first School council meeting.  An election by secret ballot of members of the School Council shall be held if more that one candidate is running for the position of Community Representative.

9.0 Voting Procedures of School Council Issues

Members of council should be well informed and the Council should discuss issues in depth including any implications before a vote is called by the Chair/Co-Chairs.

Each Parent/Guardian Representative and the Community Representative of the Council are entitled to one vote per issue taken by council.

Votes may be taken by secret ballot.  The issue that has the majority of Council Members voting in favour of it will be the final recommendation from the Council.

10.0 Review/Amendments to the Constitution

The Ray Lewis Elementary School Constitution will be reviewed annually by the Council at the second Council meeting of the school year.  The Council will ensure that the Constitution is revised to reflect changes or updates from the Ministry of Education or the HWDSB.

Any amendments, deletions or additions must be approved by a majority vote by the Council after discussion of the proposed amendment at a Council meeting.

11.0 Fundraising

A Fundraising Committee may be formed to report to the Council.

The purpose of fundraising events shall be to raise funds to purchase program materials and equipment to support and enhance student learning, and may also be used to support extra-curricular activities and out of school excursions. The Principal shall approve all purchases made with fundraising revenue.

There will be a maximum of two major fundraisers per school year, as per HWDSB policy. The fundraisers shall be approved by the Principal and communicated to the school community.

All monies raised via fundraising activities shall be deposited into the Funds Account by the Treasurer of the Council.  The Treasurer shall keep a financial record.

11.1 Requests for Funds

Requests for funds for materials, activities or excursions will be made submitted to the Principal on the appropriate form at least two weeks prior to a Council meeting.

Parent/Guardian Representatives will receive copies of the request(s) with the Meeting Agenda at least one week prior to the meeting.  The request will be discussed at the meeting and there will be a secret ballot vote at the end of the meeting.  The votes will be tallied by the Chair/Co-Chairs and the Principal.

Updated on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
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