• File Code: 1312


    The purpose of this policy is to respond to constituent inquiries, issues, concerns, questions,

    compliments and comments, addressed to the Board for resolution and for use in systemic


    The Board of Education recognizes that its ability to service requests in an efficient, timely and

    courteous manner is a critical component necessary to promote continuous system improvement, to inform, educate and to support the needs of the Elizabeth Public Schools. As elected officials acting on behalf of the children, parents and taxpayers, the Elizabeth Board of Education Board members’ role in constituent service is to facilitate management’s ability to resolve problems effectively without becoming involved themselves in directly solving problems or handling management issues. All Elizabeth Board of Education Board members will be trained on an annual basis on this policy. All new Elizabeth Board of Education Board members will be trained following the annual Reorganization meeting as part of the induction process.

    Defining Constituent Service Constituent service is defined as ensuring that management takes responsibility for providing residents the services they rightfully should receive from their elected school Board representatives and employees of the Elizabeth Public Schools.

    The following definitions apply:

     Constituents are residents of the community who are represented by elected Elizabeth Board of Education members. Constituents include students, parents, guardians, employees with children in the district, taxpayers and members of the community.

     Governance is the primary role of the elected Elizabeth Board of Education members.

    Governance involves ensuring the delivery of required educational and support services in the

    District by providing oversight and policy to the Superintendent regarding those services and

    desired results. Governance is strategic and involves the development of policy focused on

    effecting system improvement.

     Management is the responsibility of the Superintendent who is an employee of the Elizabeth Public Schools and operates within District policy established by the Elizabeth Board of Education and all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations. Management includes directing staff, allocating resources, administering programs and providing support services to improve school system effectiveness and successfully achieve District objectives.

     Appropriate Constituent Service ensures that management takes responsibility for helping constituents receive the services that the Elizabeth Public School system provides, using the resources provided for those services. Constituent Service (continued) File Code 1312

     Inappropriate Constituent Service is defined as Board Member involvement in management or delivery of specific services or desired results, even if the problem is serious and/or the Board member’s involvement is minimal. This ensures that Board Members do not confer special advantage on staff, parents, students, vendors or any other person or entity outside regular decision-making processes established by policy or management to ensure fairness and equity.

    System for Constituent Service The system for handling constituent services requests is based on the establishment of a reliable communication mechanism between the Elizabeth Board of Education members and the Superintendent that will refer, track, and resolve constituent inquiries. Inquiries in the form of written correspondence, e-mail, or telephone will be managed by electronic means to facilitate communication and record-keeping in the system. Requests will be tracked in the system by category of request, date of response, and a summary of the response (at a minimum). This information will be maintained in a consolidated database until reviewed by the Board and Superintendent.

    Constituent requests received by the Elizabeth Board of Education members will be forwarded to the office of the Assistant Superintendent for Family and Community Outreach as the Superintendent’s designee to be logged into the Elizabeth Public Schools Direct (“EPSDirect”) tracking system. The Assistant Superintendent will refer the request to the appropriate department for action.

    Upon department response and review by the Assistant Superintendent, the District response will be logged into the EPSDirect tracking system to ensure that all Board Members are advised of the action on the constituent’s request, keeping the constituent advised of the status, and updating the request in the system.

    For requests that come to the Board which have not followed internal protocol for escalation to the Board, Board members may respond in the following ways:

    1. Provide information (if known)

    2. Refer the constituent to the appropriate office

    3. Refer the issue to the Superintendent

    4. Request a response from the Superintendent to be drafted on behalf of the Board

    The Board and the Superintendent shall establish written protocols for the above processes and will review the protocols annually.

    Protocol for Constituent Service

    The protocol begins with a constituent’s request to a Board member for information and/or assistance. If the request is for information, the Board member should provide the information (if known) or explain to the constituent where or from whom this information should be obtained.

    If the constituent requests assistance in addressing an issue or problem, the Board member must first evaluate the validity of the claim and also determine if the constituent is an employee of the Board with an employment issue.

    If the request or the complaint appears to be valid and is urgent, complicated, or has potential for major consequence, the Board member should refer the request to the Superintendent’s designee for administrative action. Further, if the constituent is an employee of the Board with an employment issue, the Board member should refer the constituent to follow the district’s chain of command through administration.

    If the request or issue is not urgent, then the Board member should explain to the constituent the district’s chain of command, clarify the difference between governance and management, and define the Board’s role in constituent service. The Board member should then direct the constituent back into the system, that is, to talk to the teacher or principal, transportation office, etc. The Board member may need to provide the constituent with contact information. The constituent should be invited to call the Board member again if a timely response is not received from the district staff.

    If the constituent does not receive a satisfactory response despite good faith efforts to resolve the issue with management, the issue should be referred to Board services, which will then take appropriate administrative action.

    For every issue, referred to the superintendent’s designee, Board members will receive a written report on the manner and timeframe of issue resolution. If the issue is significant or requires time to resolve, the superintendent’s designee will notify the Board member regarding the plans, steps taken, and the time frame for resolution.

    The superintendent’s designee is responsible for briefing the superintendent as needed and for preparing periodic reports for the superintendent and full Board showing:

     Request patterns

     System issues, and

     Work to date to improve systems.

    The Board and superintendent should review the effectiveness of the constituent service system from time to time and make the necessary changes and adjustments. The Board members will honor the spirit of the constituent service policy in order to ensure consistent, reliable, and effective responses to requests for information or assistance presented to individual Board members.

    Guidelines for Responding to Constituent Requests

    The Board will implement a constituent services system, which will accomplish the following:

    1. Track and monitor the progress for responding to issues and requests,

    2. Archive, categorize and analyze requests and responses,

    3. Produce reports for analysis and review by the Board on a quarterly basis, and

    4. Provide a mechanism for quality assurance.