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February 23, 2024 Mist | 39°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 59C: School councils; members; meetings; duties

Section 59C. At each public elementary, secondary and independent vocational school in the commonwealth there shall be a school council consisting of the school principal, who shall co-chair the council; parents of students attending the school who shall be selected by the parents of students attending such school who will be chosen in elections held by the local recognized parent teacher organization under the direction of the principal, or if none exists, chosen by a representative process approved by the school committee. Said parents shall have parity with professional personnel on the school councils; teachers who shall be selected by the teachers in such school; other persons, not parents or teachers of students at the school, drawn from such groups or entities as municipal government, business and labor organizations, institutions of higher education, human services agencies or other interested groups including those from school age child care programs; and for schools containing any of the grades nine to twelve, at least one such student; provided, however, that not more that fifty percent of the council shall be non-school members. The principal, except as otherwise provided herein, shall have the responsibility for defining the composition of and forming the group pursuant to a representative process approved by the superintendent and school committee and for convening the first meeting no later than forty days after the first day of school, at which meeting a co-chairman shall be selected. School councils should be broadly representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of the school building and community. For purposes of this paragraph the term ''non-school members'' shall mean those members of the council, other than parents, teachers, students and staff of the school.

Nothing contained in this section shall require a new school council to be formed if an existing school council fulfills the intent of this section, the parent and teacher members thereof were selected in a manner consistent with the provisions of this section and the membership thereof complies with the aforesaid fifty percent requirement.

Meetings of the school council shall be subject to the provisions of sections twenty-three A, twenty-three B and twenty-three C of chapter thirty-nine.

The school council, including the school principal, shall meet regularly and shall assist in the identification of the educational needs of the students attending the school, make recommendations to the principal for the development, implementation and assessment of the curriculum accommodation plan required pursuant to section 38Q1/2, shall assist in the review of the annual school budget and in the formulation of a school improvement plan, as provided below. Parent advisory councils, established under section 6A of chapter 71A, may, at their request, meet at least once annually with the school council.

The principal of each school, in consultation with the school council established pursuant to this section, shall on an annual basis, in conformity with section 1I of chapter 69, develop and submit to the district superintendent a plan for improving student performance. In schools serving 10 or more English learners or in which English learners comprise at least 5 per cent of the student population, whichever is less, the plan to improve student performance shall include a description of the educational program models and approaches offered by the school district to ensure the progress of English learners in attaining English speaking, reading, writing and oral comprehension skills and in meeting academic standards under section 1D of said chapter 69 and curriculum frameworks under section 1E of said chapter 69. The superintendent shall review and approve the plan, after consultation with the school committee. Plans shall be prepared in a manner and form prescribed by the department of elementary and secondary education and shall conform to any policies and practices of the district consistent therewith. If the superintendent does not approve a plan submitted by the principal, the plan shall be returned to the principal who shall, after consultation with the school council, resubmit the plan to the superintendent who shall review and approve the resubmitted plan, after consultation with the school committee.

Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the school committee from granting a school council additional authority in the area of educational policy; provided, however, that school councils shall have no authority over matters which are subject to chapter one hundred and fifty E.