A School Improvement Council (SIC) is an advisory committee to a school's principal. Under the 1997 South Carolina Education Finance Act, the 1984 Education Improvement Act, and the Early Childhood Development and Academic Assistance Act of 1993 (Act 135) SICs have the following responsibilities:
Council Members are also expected to:
By law, each SIC must be composed of 9 to 15 members, of at least: two parents (elected by the parents of students in the school), two teachers (elected by the school faculty), two students in grades 9-12 (elected be the students), and other representatives of the community appointed by the principal. The elected members must comprise a two-thirds majority of the elected and appointed membership of the council.
Councils should also include ex-officio members who are neither elected nor appointed but hold positions of leadership such as principal, such as principal, PTO or PTA presidents, past SIC chair or business partner. Ex-officio members in the SIC bylaws.
SIC elections must take place by October 15 of each school year. Within 30 days of elections, the names and address of all SIC members must be sent to the School Improvement Council Assistance office.
Elected members must serve a minimum of two years. The terms are staggered so that experienced council members serve on the SIC every year. For a new school, after the initial election of SIC Members, lots are drawn to determine the stagger rotation.
Councils may establish criteria for terminating council members who fail to attend meetings e.g. missing two consecutive scheduled meetings without cause or proper notice to the chairperson.
Officers will consist of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Secretary. Election of officers should rotate between the different groups represented (e.g. school staff, parents, students) to make sure that no one group holds all the offices at one time.
Officers must be members of the SIC board and are nominated and elected for a one year term and may not serve more than four consecutive, uninterrupted terms.
Duties of the Officers:
The Chairperson, along with the principal, will prepare the agenda for all meetings, see that the agenda is mailed out at least one week before each meeting, and will have the authority to modify or change the agenda if it is determined to be in the best interest of the council's work.
The Vice Chairperson will exercise all functions in the absence if the Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson will maintain a listing of the membership with phone numbers, addresses, and attendance and will assist the Chairperson as needed.
The Secretary will a) keep accurate accounts of the proceedings and transactions of all meetings of the council; b) provide copies of the minutes to the principal and faculty within one week of each meeting so that actions can be noted at the next faculty meeting; c) prepare any official correspondence that the Chairperson may request; d) maintain a "Council File" containing copies of the minutes, the School information from the district or state, and a current copy of the bylaws; and e) annually provide a copy of the bylaws to all council members by the second meeting of the year.
The council shall appoint standing committees or ad hoc committees using members and non members at the councils discretion. At least one council member must be a member of any committee meetings may be called by the Committee Chairperson, the Council Chairperson, or Principal, by phone, at their discretion.
The Chairperson will compile an agenda for each meeting; however, meeting topics will not be confined to this agenda.
Meetings will be opened to the public, and any parent, student, or community member is invited to attend. The Council shall maintain an " open chair" policy that allows non-council members to voice their opinions or concerns during council meetings. The open chair can be occupied on individual initiative or at invitation or request of the council.
The SIC Council shall observe THE ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER in conducting its meetings. A copy of THE ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER shall become part of these by-laws.
Minutes of all regular SIC meetings, Committee meetings, and Ad Hoc Committee meetings will be recorded, and made available to the SIC Chairman, SIC Chairman, SIC members, the Principal, the School District Office, and the Public.
By law, Council must be provided training, Section 59-20-60 (3) of the Education Improvement Act states:
The district board of trustees shall include in its annual district report a summary of the training opportunities provided--for school improvement council members and professional educators in programs and activities involving parents and citizens in the school.
The Principal acts in an advisory role to the SIC. The Principal may not hold an office in the SIC and is not a voting member.
Principals can help their councils be more effective by:
Communicating a shared vision for school improvement regularly and clearly to the entire school community;
These bylaws will be read and initial revisions made, then read again in their entirety without revision at two consecutive regular SIC meetings and approved by two-thirds of the attending committee members. Amendments to these bylaws will be made in the same manner.
A copy of these bylaws will be provided to each member yearly, and to the Principal, School District Office, and available to the Public.