The School Advisory Council of St. Francis de Sales Central Catholic School is entrusted as a consultative voice to initiate creative ideas, to be an active participant in making recommendations, and to assist in implementing decisions that remain within the province of the school Principal and the designated school Pastor.
Unlike public school boards, Catholic school advisory councils operate under the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law. The designated school pastor, in collaboration with the school principal, has the final authority to accept or reject the recommendations of the School Advisory Council.
The School Advisory Council shall be composed of no fewer than 7 voting members. The designated pastor, school principal, assistant principal, and accountant are ex-officio members and are non-voting. Four of the voting members will represent each of the four parishes in the Morgantown area and are appointed by the Pastor of that parish. The remaining Council members may be from any parish in the Morgantown area. These remaining members are appointed by the designated pastor after being recommended by the principal in collaboration with the members of the Council.
Sample skill sets for Catholic School Advisory Council membership include but re not limited to the following:
- Budget / Finance
- Construction / Maintenance
- Alumni Rep
- Institutional Knowledge
2022- 23 School Advisory Council Members
|Member Name||Parish Representation|
|Mrs. Aimee Henkins||St. Mary’s Parishfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mr. John Cavalier||St. Mary’s Parishemail@example.com|
|Mr. Glenn Adrian||St. John’s Parishfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mr. Chad Noel||St. Luke’s Parishemail@example.com|
|Mr. Nick DeMedici||St. Francis de Sales Parish||
|Msgr. Anthony Cincinnati||SFdSCCS Designated Pastorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mr. Arthur Moore||SFdSCCS Principalemail@example.com|
The mission of the St. Francis Central Catholic School Advisory Council is to collaborate with the leadership of St. Francis to define the vision of the school, and to promote and sustain the mission of Catholic School education in the greater Morgantown area.
Since the 1980’s, education councils/school boards have been an important part of Catholic school life. In the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, as of April 2007, all such groups will be known as Catholic School Advisory Councils (CSACs). There are many reasons why the church needs these CSACs today. A leadership team is necessary to achieve the success we experience in our schools. One or two individuals cannot do everything that is needed to make schools successful.
The time is now…to create CSACs that will work collaboratively with principals and pastors to make decisions rooted in what is best for the students and overall school community. Every baptized person has the responsibility of using his or her God-given gifts and talents for the building of the community. CSACs provide one way in which lay persons can participate in the life of the Church. Catholic schools today face many complexities and challenges which make the talents and interests of many people a necessity. Pastors, designated pastors, and school principals use CSACs to help assist them in dealing with the needs of the overall school community. Every institution needs a group charged with planning for their future. The local CSAC is a logical body to assume this charge.
The School Advisory Council shall meet regularly four times a year. The meetings will take place on the second Tuesday of August, November, February, and May at 6:30 pm and will be held at the school. All meetings of the School Advisory Council are to be open meetings unless designated as being executive.
Non-Council members may address the Council at any School Advisory Council meeting if notice is presented to the Secretary no later than one week in advance of the meeting and is approved by the designated school Pastor in consultation with the school principal. If approved, the non-Council member will have a five minute opportunity to address the School Advisory Council. Meetings, to the extent possible, should not extend beyond two hours.
In Catholic education, school advisory councils are consultative. This means that they participate in the decision-making process, but they do not have the authority to make final decisions. The members of the School Advisory Council work together to assist the principal and pastor with the short-term and long-term needs of the school. They work to create policies for the school, monitor the budget, spread the Good News through marketing and assisting with other areas that help make the school viable.
The overall success of the School Advisory Council is highly dependent upon each member’s clear understanding of those areas in which the council should be involved. The designated school pastor and the principal must consult with the council in the areas of strategic and long-term planing, policy making, fiscal planning and monitoring, public relations, and the maintenance of buildings and grounds.
The term of a member of the School Advisory Council is three years. Terms shall end on June 30th of the third year following appointment to the School Advisory Council. The designated pastor may recommend individuals to fill the unexpired term of any member who resigns or is removed. At the discretion of the Executive Committee, a member may be removed from the School Advisory Council due to unexcused absences from two or more regular meetings in a 12 month period.
- Planning – maintaining and upholding the Council’s mission, and setting goals and implementing plans for the school.
- Policy Development – formulating, reviewing and revising policies that give general direction to administrative action. Policies are approved by the Council for recommendation to the principal, for the designated pastor’s approval and promulgation.
- Finance – developing and monitoring the implementation of school guidelines regarding the financial operations of the school. Examples of this would be school salary scales, budgetary practices, and general financial operations.
- Advancement, Public Relations, & Marketing – establishing guidelines regarding development programs at St. Francis Central Catholic, responding to the needs and concerns expressed by the school community, and promoting the school’s educational program. The Council advocates and promotes the school within the school community and throughout the Morgantown community.
- Legislative Issue Education – studying issues relevant to the school’s educational program, and developing plans and programs to educate the school community regarding legislative issues that impact the school’s educational program.
- Evaluation – determining whether the Council’s goals and plans are being met, not evaluating individual staff members and administrators, and determining the Council’s own effectiveness.
- Authority to Make Decisions – Individual members should not act on their own apart from the council. Members of the Advisory Council only have authority when they sit with the entire School Advisory Council at a meeting and can only act on behalf of the Advisory Council after approval.
- Speaking on Behalf of the School Advisory Council – members should not be sharing confidential information with others who do not serve on the Advisory Council or speak on behalf of the Council when questioned by members of the public. Council members should listen to concerns or questions and then direct individuals to the designated spokesperson for the school or bring concerns to the Advisory Council meetings, when appropriate.
- Discussing Disciplinary Issues – members should not become involved in disciplinary issues. The school principal, the designated school pastor and other members of the staff are the only ones who should be directly involved in student or staff discipline.
- “Running the School” – members should avoid including specific regulations and rules in the formulation of policies. Policies need to be written to give guidance to the principal as he/she develops and enforces school rules and regulations. Members will avoid telling the principal how to do things. The School Advisory Council is not directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the school or academic decisions. Curricular goals and other learning outcomes are the responsibility of the principal and faculty. Furthermore, members do not make decisions to hire nor terminate any staff or faculty member.
- The School Advisory Council is Not a Grievance Body – although concerns and questions from the school community should be discussed, members should refrain from constant complaining and focus on solutions that will promote the schools overall mission, philosophy and goals.
Differences between Public School Boards and Catholic School Advisory Councils
Public School Board
End: Free education for all
Responsibility: For the school system’s general operation
Orientation: Civil, Societal
Establishment: By law
Membership: Elected to represent constituencies
Impact: Own locality
Catholic School Advisory Council
End: Provide Catholic education to those who choose it
Responsibility: For one particular school
Orientation: Catholic Church
Entity: Not Legal
Establishment: Episcopal mandate
Membership: Elected or appointed
Impact: Entire mission of the Church