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Individual trustees should respect boards authority
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“When speaking for the District, the Board encourages its spokesperson to exercise restraint and tact and to communicate the message in a manner that promotes public confidence in the Board’s leadership.”

That statement is one of the few points included in the new Board Bylaw, Policy No. 9010(a) under Public Statements which is one of several rules that the Board of Trustees are going to consider for a second reading and final adoption at their meeting tonight. The agenda items relating to revisions and changes in the new board bylaws are in the consent items of tonight’s agenda, which means the trustees could go ahead and have it approved without any further discussion.

This Public Statements policy further states: “The Governing Board of the Manteca Unified School District recognizes the responsibility of Board members in their role as community leaders to participate in public disclosure on matters of civic or community interest, (including) those involving the District, and their right to freely express their personal views.

“However, to ensure communication of a consistent, unified message regarding District issues, Board members are expected to respect the authority of the Board to choose its representatives to communicate its positions and to abide by established protocols.”

Furthermore, Policy No. 9010(a) specifies that, “when speaking to community groups, members of the public, or the media, individual Board members should recognize that their statements may be perceived as reflecting the views and positions of the Board. Board members have a responsibility to identify viewpoints as such and not as the viewpoint of the Board.”

To make it more relevant to these modern times of social media networking, the language of this policy adds that “the Board encourages members who participate on social networking sites, blogs, or other discussion or informational sites to conduct themselves in a respectful, courteous, and professional manner and to model good behaviors for district students and the community. Such electronic communications are subject to the same standards and protocols established for other forms of communication, and the disclosure requirements of the California Public Records Act may likewise apply to them.”

Other board policies to be considered by the trustees tonight for final adoption include: “Disclosure of confidential/privileged information” (Bylaw No. 9011), “Governance standards” (Bylaw No. 9005), and “Role of the board” (Bylaw No. 9000(a).

“Act with dignity, and understand the implications of demeanor and behavior,” is one of the points under No. 9005, Governance standards.

Under policy No. 9011 regarding disclosure of confidential and privileged information, one provision states that the board “shall not take any action set forth in Government Code 549563© against any person for disclosing confidential information.” Confidential information is defined as “a communication made in a closed session that is specifically related to the basis for the Board to meet lawfully in closed session.”

The open session of the board meeting will begin at 7 o’clock tonight at the school district office, 2271 West Louise Avenue, corner of Airport Way.