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Communicating Effectively with School Officials

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District strives to keep the avenues of communication open and ensure that all concerns and issues are addressed in the best way possible.

In order to ensure a quick and effective process, anyone with concerns, questions, suggestions, and/or complaints, are encouraged to first contact the employee closest to the issue as illustrated in this organizational chart [PDF]. If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved at this level, then contact should escalate to the person in the next “line of responsibility” on the chart until the matter is satisfactorily resolved.

View the "Who to Contact" organizational chart [PDF]

When to contact the Board of Education

The Board of Education primarily handles policy and fiscal matters with the day-to-day district matters being handled by the district administrators. Most issues can be identified, clarified and addressed more promptly when directed to those most familiar with the situation. Individuals will benefit from expedited communication if they closely adhere to the chain of command as described in the organizational chart.

Only after following the chain of command to the highest level should an individual contact the Board of Education with a concern. Typically, this contact is made via the district clerk, during board meetings or by letter via the district website.

Communicating at Board Meetings

Community members are encouraged to attend and participate in board meetings. Public discussion is held at the beginning of each meeting. At that time, community members have an opportunity to express concerns, raise issues or share thoughts about the school district.

To assist the board in understanding your ideas, community members are asked to use the following format:

• State your name and town
• Identify the topic
• Discuss your concern
• Recommend a corrective action and/ or solution

The Board of Education thoughtfully listens to all community members and truly values input. Please understand that it may not be possible or even appropriate to respond immediately or publicly to your comments. For example, issues related to specific personnel cannot be discussed in an open forum. Whenever possible, these matters should be brought to the administration so they may be placed, whenever appropriate, on an upcoming executive session board agenda.

Respect, civility and a spirit of cooperation are expected at all board meetings. Guidelines outlined in the Code of Conduct apply during all interactions. The president of the Board of Education retains the right to impose a time limit or to close the floor to maintain order and proceed with district business as listed on the agenda.