Princeton Charter School


Governance Structure

The Board of Trustees

The steering committee of the PCS Founders will elect the initial Board of Trustees. This initial Board will organize itself such that one-third of the members will serve through June 1997, one-third through June 1998, and the final third through June 1999.

Involvement of Private Entities

No private entities will be involved in the operation of PCS.

Advisory Grievance Committee

An advisory grievance committee hears complaints on the part of individuals or groups who allege a violation of the provisions of the school's Charter. This grievance committee is an ad hoc committee of the Board of Trustees, including trustees, parents, and teachers as members. The grievance and complaint review process includes: 1) written description of the grievance, along with any supporting documentation, to be presented by the aggrieved party to the grievance committee no later than one month after the fact; 2) committee review of the grievance and all supporting materials along with interview of the aggrieved and other relevant parties within one month's time; 3) committee decision within one week's time or a call for more information, in which case the process starts again with 2); 4) the advisory grievance committee makes its decision and nonbinding recommendations concerning the disposition of the complaint known to the school's Board of Trustees; 5) the Board of Trustees considers the recommendations of the grievance committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting and renders a decision; 6) if the Board decides wholly or partially for the aggrieved, any remedial action is to be taken as expeditiously as possible; 7) if the aggrieved is dissatisfied with the Board's decision, an appeal may be made to the Commissioner of Education.

Governance of the School

Princeton Charter School is governed by a Board of Trustees whose ultimate responsibility is to uphold the mission of Princeton Charter School by providing for the well-being of the institution in the present as well as the future. The Board protects the public interest and upholds the public trust by applying the highest standards of service in governing the school according to its Charter, by-laws, and relevant state and federal statutes. It is the duty of the Board of Trustees to make plans, establish policies, and assess the performance of the school as a whole. The Board also bears ultimate responsibility for the school's finances and physical plant. The Board must also identify, select, work with, support and evaluate the Head of School, who is the professional educational leader of the school as well as its administrator. In order to successfully undertake all these responsibilities, the Board must organize, manage, and assess itself in an efficient, business-like manner.

First and foremost, Trustees are nominated and elected on the basis of a firm commitment to the mission, goals and objectives of PCS; they should unequivocally support the educational philosophy espoused in this document and confirmed by the granting of a charter to the school. In addition, Trustees are nominated and elected for the qualities of leadership, service, and expertise in a range of fields that they bring to the school. No Trustee represents a specific constituency. It is imperative that the Board of Trustees make its decisions for the present and future welfare of Princeton Charter School as a whole, rather than in response to personal priorities or the wishes of vocal factions. No Trustee may speak for the Board on any issue until the Board in its entirety has decided that issue. All Board meetings are held in compliance with the provisions of the ``Open Public Meetings Act.'' For a detailed review of the role of the Board of Trustees, please refer to the by-laws available upon request.

The Board of Trustees will include at least five members, with the exact number to be specified in the by-laws. (The by-laws currently specify 9.) The Princeton Charter School Head sits on the Board ex officio. Members of the Board serve a term of three years, with approximately one-third replaced each year. Terms of office of outgoing trustees will expire on June 30, and incoming trustees will take office on July 1 annually. The by-laws provide for a majority of the Board members to be elected from among the parents and guardians of students enrolled in the school. Seats reserved for parent trustees are elected by the parents/guardians of enrolled students. Candidates are nominated by the nominating committee of the Board of Trustees, or by petition of the parents/guardians of students enrolled in the school. The number of signatures shall be no less than ten percent of the number of enrolled students. The non-reserved seats are filled by majority vote of the Board of Trustees and may provide desirable expertise or diversity.

Parents of PCS students participate directly in the governance of the school through the seats reserved for them on the Board of Trustees. Because the Board is empowered by its by-laws to create committees that include non-Trustees as committee members, it is expected that the Head of School, parents, and faculty members will be included in such committees as appropriate. The Board may choose to create a standing Teachers' Advisory Committee to serve as a permanent channel for teachers to make their concerns known directly to the Board, including the Head as a Trustee ex officio. Such a standing teachers' committee would also provide feedback to the Board in its self-evaluation exercises which serve as the basis for future planning. The students may influence issues of immediate concern to them in their daily school environment by forming a school government which may provide input to the formulation of in-school discipline, codes of conduct, etc.

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