2120 - Code of Ethics for School Board Members
The Avery County Board of Education recognizes that, collectively and individually, all members of the board must adhere to an accepted code of ethics as required by G.S. 160A-83 and G.S. 115C-47(57).
Board Member Ethical Requirements
The following standards will guide each board member in the performance of his or her official duties:
- the need to obey all applicable state and federal laws regarding official actions taken as a board member;
- the need to uphold the integrity and independence of the board member's office;
- the need to avoid impropriety in the exercise of the board's and board members' official duties;
- the need to perform faithfully the duties of the office; and
- the need to conduct the affairs of the board in an open and public manner, complying with all applicable laws governing open meetings and public records.
Additional Board Member Commitments
In order to implement the above standards, each member of the board commits to the following:
- attend all regularly scheduled board meetings insofar as possible, and become informed concerning the issues to be considered at those meetings;
- endeavor to make policy decisions while always keeping in mind the objective of providing students the opportunity to receive a sound basic education and only after full discussion at publicly held board meetings;
- render all decisions based on the available facts and any independent judgment and refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups;
- model civility to students, employees, and all elements of the community by encouraging the free expression of opinion by all board members and engaging in respectful dialogue with fellow board members on matters being considered by the board;
- respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law and refrain from unauthorized disclosure of matters discussed in closed session;
- work with other board members to establish effective board policies and to delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent;
- communicate to other board members and the superintendent expressions of public reaction to board policies and school programs;
- learn about current educational issues by individual study and through participation in programs providing needed information, such as those sponsored by the state and nationalschool boards associations;
- comply with North Carolina General Statute 115C-50 by earning the required 12 hours of training every two years;
- comply with G.S. 160A-87 by earning two hours of ethics education within 12 months of election or appointment to the board;
- support the employment of those persons best qualified to serve as school employees, and avoid allowing personal relationships and biases to influence decision making;
- refrain from investigation or attempting to resolve complaints received personally, but instead direct the complainant to follow the board’s complaint or grievance process to resolve concerns;
- avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest, and refrain from using the board member's position on the board for personal or partisan gain;
- take no private action that will compromise the board or administration; and
- remember always that a board member's first and greatest concern must be the educationalwelfare of the students attending the public schools.
All newly elected board members are expected to sign a code of ethics statement that includes these provisions at the organizational meeting of the board.
Legal References: G.S. 115C-36, -47(1), -47(57), -50; 160A -86, -87; Leandro v State, 346 N.C. 336 (1997)
Cross References: Board Members Opportunities for Development (policy 2123)
Adopted: 2002-01-07 Revised: 2006-12-04; 2009-10-12; 2016-12-13