About the School Board
Putney Town School Board is a five-member board elected at Town Meeting
for terms ranging from one to three years. The current members are: Alice Laughlin, chair; Anne Beekman, clerk; Emily Pals, Dylan Devlin,vice chair, and Richard Glejzer . Regular Board meetings are usually held at the school on
the first and third Thursdays of each month beginning at 5:00 p.m.,
though times and dates vary occasionally. Check with the front office at PCS (802.387-5521) to ascertain whether there is a meeting on a given Thursday, particularly around holidays, which tend to disrupt the meeting schedule at times.
Special meetings are called from time to time, and these may be held on any day, and at any time of day. Warnings of both regular and special meetings are placed in the Brattleboro Reformer in the Meetings listing on that paper’s Calendar page. Agendas for these meetings are posted at the school, at the Putney Town offices or on iPutney.com.
Agendas and minutes are available at the WSESU's Putney Board page.
The minutes of the Board’s recent meetings can be accessed via the link above, and are also posted at the school just outside the school office. Electronic copies of the minutes are distributed by email to a list of people who have asked to receive them. To add your name to the list, send an email to email@example.com. Community members with an interest in school affairs are encouraged to attend school board meetings!
The work of school boards is quite varied and includes: the setting of school policy, the establishment of educational goals for the future, the formulation of yearly budgets, school calendar decisions, hiring decisions, responsibility for the management of the physical plant and grounds, general oversight, and the deliberation of grievances. All this is done with the valued input and insight of Staff, Principal, District Superintendent, and Community Members.
Those interested in obtaining a copy of the policies of Putney Central School may do so by contacting the school or the WSESU Central Office. School policies help establish the organizational structure upon which successful daily operation of schools can function. For a detailed look at Putney Central school rules and procedures, one should reference the school’s current Parent-Student Handbook. Copies of this handbook are available from the school. For a copy of the present school budget, one can contact either the school, the Putney Town Clerk, or the WSESU.
If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, you are encouraged to contact the school by phone at: 802-387-5521.
Member Contact Information
An understanding of the role of parents and other community members at PCS board meetings necessarily hinges to a certain extent on an understanding of the roles in general of the school board and the principal.
The board’s primary roles are to develop and maintain school district policies, to recommend budgets to the town, and to make hiring decisions. Additional tasks of the board include setting the school calendar, resolving complaints*, setting educational goals, ensuring the long-term viability of the building and grounds, authorizing the payment of bills, and authorizing money management strategies for the school. The principal’s primary role is to administer the school. In doing so, the principal is supervised (and reports to) the WSESU Supervisor (currently Ron Stahley). “Administering the school” includes everything from making class assignments to creating class groupings to making sure that there is a procedure in place to put children on the bus.
The principal’s administrative roles and prerogatives are quite broad. The board’s administrative roles and prerogatives are quite narrow. One way to explain the relationship between board and principal is that the board decides in very broad strokes what to do and the principal decides how to do it. If the board decides that the budget allows for 18 teachers, the principal decides how best to assign the 18 teachers on staff to classrooms.
The board especially welcomes community input about budgetary, hiring, and policy matters as well as about any of the limited administrative matters that fall within its purview. Although most administrative matters lie beyond the board’s purview, the board also welcomes comments about them, as well, because the board needs to be fully informed of the climate and “hot topics” at the school in order to make its decisions responsibly.
When community members comment at board meetings, their role is to inform the board. The board will take their comments seriously, deliberate about them, and act appropriately. That process can take time.
Letters are another good way for community members to inform the board (or principal or supervisor) regarding their views and questions about or experience with school matters. Letters sent to the principal, board, or supervisor might best be copied to the other two of those parties, because, while the three parties have discrete responsibilities, they do need to work closely together and share information.