Each and every school day (and some weekends!), Texas public school districts transport students to and from their schools, provide a wide range of learning experiences for students from pre-K through high school, feed them, and provide myriad wraparound services. This is an enormous task with thousands of moving parts.
To pull this off, district administrators like you need to navigate and integrate:
- Federal and state law
- TEA and State Board of Education rules
- Local community values
- Local board mandates
Then you need to create administrative regulations to implement practices and ensure every facet of district operations is working smoothly.
TASB Policy Service, working in cooperation with your district’s policy contact, can help your district navigate this often confusing terrain.
The policy contact is generally the district staff member or administrator who:
- Is most familiar with the contents of the district’s local policy manual
- Fields questions about district policy and procedures
- Coordinates policy changes between district administrators, the board, and TASB Policy Service
The person who takes on this essential task will vary depending on the size, staffing structure, and needs of the district. If the above sounds like the work you’re doing in your district, this guide was written with you in mind.
RELATED: The Policy Contact’s Role
Navigating this web guide
We’ve structured this guide to serve as a roadmap for new policy contacts or as a refresher for those with years of experience. Each section tackles an essential element of the policy contact’s responsibilities and can be used as a stand-alone guide or in conjunction with other sections.
The guide provides an overview of the contents of the policy manual, discusses the reasons for and logistics of policy changes, and outlines the role of administrative regulations in implementing legal requirements and board policy.
Throughout the guide, we use common district transportation issues as an example through which to examine management of policies and procedures.
We’ll see that the district’s policy manual has a specific purpose and—along with other forms of board action, information from sources outside the district, and administrative procedures—forms a piece of the larger governance of the district.
For example, consider the following pieces of information that govern student trips for extracurricular activities, only one of which is housed in the district’s policy manual:
- A (LOCAL) policy declaring the number of absences a student may have for participation in extracurricular activities and competitions.
- A board resolution identifying board-approved extracurricular activities, such as 4H.
- A board resolution delegating to the superintendent the ability to approve field trips.
- Board approval of a budgeted expenditure for student travel expenses.
- An extracurricular activity handbook outlining expected student behaviors.
- UIL or other agency rules and guidelines.
- An administrative procedure outlining practices for transporting students to and from off-campus activities.
- Permission slips and emergency contact forms for students on trips.
Each plays a distinct role in managing student activities and trips, and your policy consultant and this guide can help you navigate it all like a pro!
As you read the guide, remember that these practical applications are meant as examples only.
Policy development and maintenance will look different in every district. If in doubt, give us a call at 800.580.7529.