1. Lisgar School Council (LSC)
  2. Composition of LSC
  3. Meetings and Procedures
  4. Ethics
  5. Accountability
  6. Constitutional Amendments
  7. Annex A – LSC Code of Ethics

LSC Constitution

(ratified by LSC on May 4, 2009)

1.   Lisgar School Council (LSC)

1.1   LSC Mandate

1.1.1  Lisgar School Council is an advisory body that exists to represent the voice of the parent community to the principal, the school board, and the Ministry of Education.

1.1.2  The LSC Constitution upholds the longstanding tradition of encouraging all parents and guardians of students enrolled at Lisgar Collegiate Institute (LCI) to attend LSC meetings, and to fully participate in discussions and decisions.  LSC shall continue to encourage openness and wide participation by all those associated with LCI, including parents and guardians; students; teaching, administrative, and support staff; and the community at large.

1.1.3  LSC obtains its mandate and fulfills its role in accordance with the relevant Ministry and school board regulations, including:

  1. Ontario Regulation 612/00, Education Act, School Councils,
  2. Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Procedure PR.509.SCO, School Council Elections, Constitution and By-Laws, and
  3. Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Policy P.014.SCO, School Councils.

1.2   LSC Responsibilities

1.2.1  The LSC responsibility to parents and guardians of LCI students is to:

  1. encourage participation,
  2. communicate issues and actions,
  3. solicit views and preferences, and
  4. serve as a liaison between parents and LCI, the OCDSB, and the Ministry.

1.2.2  The LSC responsibility to LCI students is to work to:

  1. sustain and strengthen LCI’s programming and high academic standards,
  2. enhance the students’ development, academically and otherwise, and
  3. ensure that LCI continues to offer a supportive and respectful learning environment.

1.2.3  The LSC responsibility to the LCI principal and staff, the OCSDB, and the Ministry, is to:

  1. advise and consult on policy and other matters that affect LCI,
  2. propose initiatives to enhance educational opportunities and school life, and
  3. sponsor activities and offer support that might not otherwise be provided.

1.3   Definitions and Abbreviations

1.3.1  The following acronyms and abbreviations are used in this document:

  1. LCI – Lisgar Collegiate Institute
  2. LSC – Lisgar School Council
  3. OCDSB – Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

1.3.2  Throughout this document, Parent is used to indicate equally a parent or guardian of one or more students at LCI.

1.3.3  Throughout this document, Chair is used to indicate co-chairs, chair, or vice-chair of the LSC.

1.3.4  Throughout this document, Principal is used to indicate the principal of LCI, who may delegate any LSC responsibility to an LCI vice principal.

1.3.5  Throughout this document, Notice is used to indicate communication of information to the Parents by as many of the following means as is practicable:

  1. giving a printed notice to students for delivery to their Parents,
  2. posting a printed notice at LCI in a location that is accessible to Parents,
  3. posting information on the LCI and/or LSC website, and distributing it through other available electronic means,
  4. including information in the student agenda, or
  5. making an announcement by means of the automated telephone system.

2.   Composition of LSC

2.1   LSC Membership

2.1.1  As much as possible, LSC’s composition should reflect the diversity of the LCI community and of its catchment areas.

2.1.2  LSC shall include a majority of Parent members, and shall consist of the following:

  1. the Principal,
  2. one teacher, elected by the teachers,
  3. if possible, one person employed at LCI, other than the principal, vice principal, or a teacher, who is elected by the non-teaching staff,
  4. one or two students, elected by Student Council,
  5. if possible, one community representative,  appointed by a majority vote of LSC.  Employees of the OCDSB are not eligible unless they are not employed at LCI and LSC members are informed of their employment before the appointment, and
  6. a minimum of ten Parent members.  Parents employed by the OCDSB at LCI are not eligible, but those employed elsewhere may serve if they first declare their employment.  More than ten Parents may serve on LSC if a greater number express an interest in doing so at the initial meeting when the LSC is formed.

2.1.3  If at the beginning of the year, ten Parent members cannot be found, LSC may legally function so long as it includes at least six Parent members.  However, LSC shall continue to solicit new Parent members until the minimum of ten is reached.

2.2 Responsibilities

2.2.1  All LSC members must recognize that accepting the position of school council member represents a specific commitment.  LSC members serve for a term that lasts from the first meeting of one school year to the first meeting of the next.  All LSC members shall:

  1. attend and participate in LSC meetings,
  2. be encouraged to participate on any subcommittees established by LSC,
  3. observe the LSC’s Code of Ethics and abide by its Constitution,
  4. act as a link between LSC and the community, and
  5. solicit the views and encourage the participation of all Parents, and of the students, staff, and other people within the LCI community.

2.2.2  If a member is unable to attend a meeting he or she should make every effort to notify the Chair or secretary in advance of the meeting.  LSC shall assume that any member who misses three LSC meetings without notice has resigned their position on LSC.

2.2.3  No LSC member may act as a spokesperson for LSC without specific direction from the LSC to do so.

2.2.4  In addition to the general member responsibilities, student representatives shall:

  1. solicit the views of other students to share with LSC, and
  2. communicate information from LSC to other students.

2.2.5  In addition to the general member responsibilities, school staff representatives shall:

  1. solicit views from their staff groups to share with LSC, and
  2. communicate information back to their staff groups.

2.2.6  In addition to the general member responsibilities, community representatives shall:

  1. represent the community’s perspective, and
  2. help build partnerships and links between LCI and the community.

2.2.7  In addition to the general member responsibilities, the Principal shall:

  1. facilitate the establishment of the LSC and assist in its operation,
  2. attend all LSC meetings,
  3. distribute promptly to each LSC member material identified by the Ministry and OCDSB for distribution to school council members, and post the material in a school location accessible to Parents,
  4. assist the LSC in communicating with the LCI community,
  5. solicit views on matters pertaining to the establishment or amendment of policies and guidelines relating to student achievement, the accountability of the education system to Parents, and the communication of those plans to the public,
  6. consider each recommendation made by LSC to the principal and report to LSC  the action taken in response to the recommendation, and
  7. vii)act as a resource to LSC on laws, regulations, OCDSB policies, and collective agreements.

2.3   Officers and Liaisons, and Their Responsibilities

2.3.1  LSC officers serve for a term that lasts from the first meeting of one school year to the first meeting of the next.  LSC shall have the following officers:

  1. two co-chairs (preferred) or a chair and vice-chair,
  2. a secretary, and
  3. a treasurer, if LSC should choose to engage in fundraising.

2.3.2  LSC shall endeavour to appoint the following liaisons:

  1. a representative to the Ottawa-Carleton Assembly of School Councils (OCASC),
  2. a representative to the Secondary Schools Committee, and
  3. a liaison to the Special Education Advisory Committee, and similar bodies established by the OCDSB.

2.3.3  The Chair shall:

  1. be a Parent member of LSC,
  2. not be an employee of the OCDSB,
  3. prepare the agenda for, convene, and chair LSC meetings,
  4. work collaboratively with LSC members to assign and delegate the roles and responsibilities of the LSC,
  5. facilitate the resolution of conflict,
  6. communicate with the principal on behalf of the LSC,
  7. solicit opinions from all LSC members, and work to achieve agreement,
  8. represent the voice of LSC rather than personal convictions, even when in disagreement,
  9. ensure that there is regular communication with the LCI community,
  10. ensure that LSC’s constitution and by-laws are up to date and are regularly reviewed by the LSC, and
  11. prepare or have prepared the annual report of the LSC.

2.3.4  The secretary shall ensure that:

  1. the minutes of LSC meetings are recorded and maintained,
  2. the minutes and records of the LSC during its tenure are passed on to the successor LSC,
  3. a current principal profile is on file with the OCDSB by October 31 of each year, and
  4. LSC and the Principal agree on LSC meeting dates for the subsequent school year early enough to have them printed in student agendas.

2.3.5  A treasurer shall be appointed by LSC members if LSC chooses to engage in fundraising.  If other funds are made available to LSC, it may choose to appoint a treasurer.  If at any time there is no treasurer in office, the Chair shall fulfill the duties of the treasurer.  The treasurer shall:

  1. present a report of any financial activity at the next LSC meeting, and
  2. ensure that any required financial records are created and maintained.

2.3.6  Liaisons and representatives shall:

  1. attend the meetings of their respective bodies and report to LSC, and
  2. represent LSC’s positions, as determined at LSC meetings, to the entities whose meetings they attend, even when these positions differ from their own points of view.

2.4   Elections

2.4.1  LSC may strike an election committee in May to gather nominations, plan the election process, and run the election for the subsequent year.

2.4.2  The election of LSC Parent members shall be conducted at a Parent meeting held within the first thirty days of each school year, which may also be the first LSC meeting of the year.  This date should be fixed, in consultation with the Principal, by the Chair and/or an election committee in the spring of the previous year.  If this has not been done, the Chair or the election committee should consult with the Principal as soon as possible after the school year begins to fix an election date.

2.4.3  At least two weeks before the date of the election of Parent members the Principal shall provide Notice of the date, time, and location of the election to every Parent.

2.4.4  Parents may be nominated or self-nominated through submission of a membership form.  Candidates must have a child registered at LCI, and any candidates employed by the OCDSB must so declare.  Membership forms shall be available at least two weeks prior to the election on the LSC website and in the school office.  Candidates may also announce at the meeting during which elections are being held that they wish to stand for LSC, and membership forms shall be accepted until the time the election begins.

2.4.5  As there is no formal limit on the number of LSC Parent members, all Parents who have indicated their willingness to serve on LSC through the membership process and have submitted a signed membership form shall be acclaimed.  The number of LSC Parent members is then capped for the year.  Vacancies shall only be filled if this number subsequently drops below ten.

2.4.6  The Principal, in consultation with the election committee or the Chair, shall make arrangements for the election of LSC members from the teaching staff, the non-teaching staff, and the student council.  These appointments shall be confirmed by LSC at the time of Parent election.

2.4.7  After confirmation of the new LSC membership, and ideally before the end of that meeting, the officers of LSC shall be elected by the new council from among the Parent members as follows:

  1. candidates not previously nominated may volunteer to stand on the spot,
  2. any position for which there is a single candidate shall be filled by acclamation,
  3. any position for which there are two or more candidates shall be filled by secret ballot,
  4. before ballots are issued, each candidate on a ballot shall be given the opportunity to make a brief statement,
  5. one ballot shall be issued per voter per position subject to election.  When more than two people wish to stand as co-chairs, all the candidates' names shall be listed on this ballot, and each voter may cast a vote for one or two of the candidates,
  6. ballots shall be counted by at least two Parents who are not candidates for  election, or by the Principal in the presence of at least one Parent who is not a candidate for  election,
  7. when voting for co-chairs, the two candidates with the greatest number of votes shall be elected,
  8. in the case of a tie vote, the tied candidates shall draw lots to determine the election result, and
  9. following the vote, the only information revealed shall be the name(s) of the winner(s), not the total number of votes each candidate garnered.

2.4.8  The Chair and/or secretary shall help the Principal ensure that the names of LSC members are publicized to the LCI community before the next LSC meeting.

2.4.9  Appeals related to the election process or results shall be resolved by the election committee, or in the absence of an election committee, by a joint ruling of the Principal and the outgoing LSC Chair.

2.5   Vacancies

2.5.1  A vacancy in the membership of the LSC does not prevent the council from exercising its authority, as long as the majority of LSC members are Parents.  However, if the number of Parent members falls below ten, LSC shall request that interested Parents from the LCI community submit their names to fill the vacancies.  The LSC shall then acclaim these candidates in accordance with the regular election process.

2.5.2  Officers required to fill vacancies shall be elected by the LSC from among the Parent members in accordance with the regular election process.

2.5.3  Non-Parent members of the LSC may at any time be replaced by another person from the same group, provided that the replacement member has been duly elected or appointed by their respective constituency.

2.5.4  When a vacant spot on LSC is filled, the new member’s term shall expire at the time of the next election.

2.6   Subcommittees

2.6.1  LSC may establish subcommittees to make recommendations to the council, subject to the following:

  1. each subcommittee shall include at least one LSC Parent member,
  2. such subcommittees may include Parents or LCI community members who are not LSC members,
  3. each subcommittee shall be led by a chair appointed by LSC, who reports to LSC on behalf of the subcommittee.

2.6.2  LSC subcommittees may be created or dissolved by a majority vote of the LSC.

2.6.3  Subcommittees shall give notice of their meetings to LSC.

2.6.4  Subcommittee meetings shall be open to the public.

2.6.5  LSC subcommittees report to and are governed by LSC.  Business conducted and actions undertaken by subcommittees must be approved by LSC.

2.7   Orientation

2.7.1  LSC shall provide new council members with electronic access to the following resources:

  1. the LSC Constitution and Code of Ethics,
  2. the most recent LSC annual report,
  3. the LCI school profile,
  4. the LCI principal profile,
  5. information about  LCI, the OCDSB, and the Ministry of Education, and
  6. information on Ministry of Education and OCDSB regulations and guidelines pertaining to school councils.

2.7.2  LSC shall provide hard copies of the orientation package on request.

3.   Meetings and Procedures

3.1   Schedule

3.1.1  All LSC meetings shall be open to the public, and shall be held at LCI.

3.1.2  LSC shall schedule monthly meetings.  December and/or June meetings may be skipped in years when it makes little sense to hold them.

3.1.3  Ample Notice of meeting times shall be provided to all Parents of enrolled pupils.

3.1.4  The LSC Chair shall call special meetings when required to address time-sensitive issues.  Every effort shall be made to provide as much Notice as possible.

3.2   Agenda

3.2.1  Whenever possible, the Chair shall call for items in advance and circulate a draft agenda, which shall be amended and finalized at the start of the meeting.

3.3   Minutes

3.3.1  The LSC secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings for a minimum of four years.

3.3.2  The minutes and records shall be available at LCI for examination without charge by any person.

3.3.3  Minutes shall include, at a minimum:

  1. a list of attendees, indicating members present and absent,
  2. the name of the person recording the minutes,
  3. an indication of whether quorum was present,
  4. decisions, motions, and action items,
  5. plans, and
  6. reports.

3.3.4  A draft of the minutes should be circulated amongst the LSC members at least one week before the next meeting.  This draft is not to be made available to the general public.

3.3.5  Minutes of the previous meeting shall be amended and approved by an LSC vote at the start of each meeting.

3.3.6  Approved minutes shall be posted on the LSC web site.

3.4   Quorum

3.4.1  Quorum shall consist of greater than 50% of the number of LSC members.

3.4.2  The Principal is not a voting member, but must be present, and is counted in the number of LSC members for the purpose of establishing quorum.

3.4.3  The majority of members present must be Parent members.

3.4.4  Once quorum is established at any given meeting, it is considered to have been established for the duration of the meeting, even if attendance subsequently drops below quorum.

3.4.5  At a meeting when early departures have reduced the numbers present to below quorum, if a formal vote is called for, such a vote shall be held at the next meeting that achieves quorum.

3.4.6  If a meeting does not achieve quorum, business may be conducted for information purposes by the agreement of those present, or at the Chair’s discretion, but any decisions must be ratified at the next meeting that achieves quorum.

3.5   Rules of Order

3.5.1  Robert’s Rules of Order (the standard reference guide for running meetings of deliberative assemblies) shall be the default authority for resolving questions of procedure.  At any time, however, LSC may elect by formal vote to abide by a different body of rules.

3.6   Motions

3.6.1  A formal vote requires a motion to be introduced by a member of the LSC.

3.6.2  Motions must be seconded by a member of the LSC other than the motion’s originator.

3.6.3  Motions may be amended, withdrawn, or tabled before voting.

3.6.4  Motions shall be allowed a reasonable amount of time for discussion.

3.6.5  Immediately before voting, motions shall be clearly restated by the Chair.

3.6.6  Motions shall be voted on according to LSC voting procedures.

3.6.7  A simple majority is required to pass a motion, except in the special case of constitutional amendment.

3.6.8  Subcommittee decisions shall be governed by the same process.

3.7   Voting

3.7.1  LSC shall strive to make decisions by consensus.

3.7.2  If consensus cannot be achieved within an allotted or reasonable time, questions shall be decided and motions passed by an informal vote, with the majority carrying.  All LSC members and Parent attendees present may participate in an informal vote by a show of hands.

3.7.3  Any person present may request a formal vote on any matter, before or after an informal vote.  A formal vote supersedes previous decisions on that matter.

3.7.4  Only voting members of LSC may participate in a formal vote.  Voting by proxy is not permitted.  Voting participation is as follows:

  1. Parent members have one vote each,
  2. the teacher representative(s) have one vote in total,
  3. the student representative(s) have one vote in total,
  4. the non-teaching staff representative(s) have one vote in total,
  5. the community representative(s) have one vote in total, and
  6. the Principal does not have a vote.

3.7.5  Formal votes may be taken by a show of hands, but any request that a formal vote be conducted by secret ballot shall be honoured.

3.7.6  Subcommittee voting shall be governed by the same rules.

3.7.7  Any member of an LSC subcommittee is entitled to one vote in votes taken by that subcommittee, whether or not they are members of LSC itself.

3.8   Electronic Voting

3.8.1  Electronic voting is an alternate process for holding a formal vote through electronic mail.  Electronic voting is acceptable when an issue arises with a deadline that falls before the next LSC meeting is scheduled or can be called.

3.8.2  As much as possible, electronic voting should be restricted to straightforward questions and those that do not involve money.

3.8.3  Electronic voting shall commence as follows:

  1. an LSC member submits a clearly stated motion to the Chair and the secretary,
  2. the motion must be seconded by an LSC member other than the motion’s originator,
  3. the Chair deems that the motion fulfills the requirements for an electronic vote, and
  4. the Chair or secretary uses a distribution list to circulate the motion to all LSC members along with a clear and reasonable deadline for discussion.

3.8.4  Electronic voting proceeds as follows:

  1. any discussion of the motion shall be addressed to all LSC members,
  2. the Chair and secretary shall use best efforts to reach any LSC member who does not respond to the call for comments, before the vote is taken,
  3. LSC members shall forward electronic votes solely to the Chair and the secretary, or to a specified proxy address for the voting,
  4. the Chair and secretary shall each independently count the votes,
  5. the motion shall be carried by simple majority,
  6. if fewer than half of LSC members participate in an electronic vote the motion shall not be carried, and
  7. the secretary shall keep a record of all electronic correspondence and votes received.

3.9   Conflict Resolution

3.9.1  Every LSC member and Parent attendee shall be given an opportunity to express their concern or opinion about the issue under dispute.

3.9.2  Speakers shall maintain a calm and respectful tone.

3.9.3  The Chair shall clarify the statements made by all speakers, identify common ground, and set out the joint interests of all members.

3.9.4  If no common ground can be identified, the Chair shall seek to clarify preferences among all members before proceeding further.

3.9.5  Disagreements should be resolved collaboratively, through consensus if possible, or by majority vote if not.

3.9.6  If all attempts at resolving the conflict have been exhausted without success, the Chair shall request the intervention of an independent third party to facilitate a resolution to the conflict.  An independent third party may be an OCDSB official or another individual mutually agreed on by the parties involved in the conflict.

3.9.7  A motion to remove an LSC officer shall proceed as follows:

  1. a notice of motion must be received by the Chair or secretary at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which the motion will be brought forward,
  2. the notice of motion shall be circulated to all LSC members as soon as possible by the Chair or secretary,
  3. the motion shall be carried by a simple majority in a formal vote,
  4. any Parent removed from their position as an officer of the LSC shall retain their membership in the LSC, and
  5. the vacated position shall be filled in accordance with the LSC vacancy procedure.

4.   Ethics

4.1   Code of Ethics

4.1.1  All LSC members shall respect the LSC Code of Ethics attached as Annex A below.

4.2   Conflict of Interest

4.2.1  All LSC members shall declare a conflict of interest when they, members of their families, or business entities in which they may have an interest, stand to benefit financially, either directly or indirectly, by decisions of the LSC .

4.2.2  All LSC members shall exclude themselves from discussions in which an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest is likely to result.

4.2.3  No LSC member shall accept favours or economic benefits from any individuals, organizations, or entities known to be seeking business contracts with LCI.

4.3   Behaviour

4.3.1  LSC members are elected to serve the LCI community and shall demonstrate respect for their colleagues on council at all times.

4.3.2  No member shall speak to the OCDSB or the media on behalf of LSC, or otherwise represent LSC’s position or interest, unless they have been specifically appointed by LSC to do so.

4.3.3  If an LSC member or members become disruptive during a meeting, the Chair shall ask for order.

4.3.4  If all efforts to restore order fail or unbecoming behaviour continues, the Chair may direct the disruptive LSC member(s) to leave the meeting, citing the reasons for the request.

4.3.5  The removal of an LSC member for one meeting shall not prevent the member from participating in future LSC meetings.

4.3.6  When the Chair has requested the removal of a member or members from an LSC meeting, the Chair shall request a separate meeting to resolve the dispute in accordance with the LSC conflict resolution process.  The separate meeting is not considered to be an LSC meeting.

4.4   Privacy

4.4.1  LSC members shall provide an e-mail address to the LSC secretary to facilitate communication amongst council members.

4.4.2  Any personal information provided to the secretary by LSC members shall be used by LSC solely for the purposes of consulting and communicating with its members on council business.  This information shall not be communicated to individuals or entities outside of LSC.

5.   Accountability

5.1   Annual Report

5.1.1  LSC shall prepare an annual year-end report of its activities, including, where applicable, a financial report.

5.2   Financial Reports

5.2.1  LSC shall keep records of any financial transactions.

5.2.2  The treasurer shall prepare an annual financial report for presentation to LSC.  If the LSC engages in fund-raising activities, a year-end report on these activities shall be included and submitted to the Director of Education.

5.2.3  All financial records shall be available at LCI for examination by any person for a minimum of four years from the date of the transaction.

6.   Constitutional Amendments

6.1.1  LSC shall review the Constitution regularly.

6.1.2  Amendments shall be introduced by motion at an LSC meeting.

6.1.3  If the motion carries, the proposed constitutional amendments shall be posted to provide at least two weeks’ opportunity for review and comment by Parents and other members of the LCI community.  All appropriate suggestions returned to the Chair or secretary shall be considered for incorporation.

6.1.4  Following the consultation period, proposed amendments to the Constitution shall be brought to the LSC for a formal vote.

6.1.5  If the Constitutional amendments are approved by a two-thirds majority, LSC shall:

  1. schedule a Constitution Ratification Meeting,
  2. provide the Parent community at least two weeks’ Notice of the date of the meeting, and
  3. make the approved amendments available to the Parent community at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

6.1.6  The Constitution Ratification meeting may be scheduled:

  1. immediately before or after a regularly scheduled LSC meeting,
  2. as a portion of a regularly scheduled LSC meeting that the Chair has designated as a Constitution Ratification meeting, or
  3. at any other time agreed to by the Principal and Chair.

6.1.7  Amendments may be voted on individually, severally, or altogether at the Chair’s discretion.

6.1.8  Ratification of any amendments requires a majority vote of all Parents and LSC members present at the Constitution Ratification meeting.

Annex A – LSC Code of Ethics

  • A member shall consider the best interests of all students.
  • A member shall be guided by the LCI and the OCDSB mission statements.
  • A member shall act within the limits of the roles and responsibilities of a school council, as identified by LCI’s operating guidelines, the OCDSB, and the Ontario Ministry of Education.
  • A member shall become familiar with LCI’s policies and operating practices and act in accordance with them.
  • A member shall maintain the highest standards of integrity.
  • A member shall recognize and respect the personal integrity of each member of the LCI community.
  • A member shall treat all other members with respect and allow for diverse opinions to be shared without interruption.
  • A member shall encourage a positive environment in which individual contributions are encouraged and valued.
  • A member shall acknowledge democratic principles and accept the consensus of the LSC.
  • A member shall respect the confidential nature of some LCI business and respect limitations this may place on the operation of the LSC.
  • A member shall not disclose confidential information.
  • A member shall limit discussions at LSC meetings to matters of concern to the LCI community as a whole.
  • A member shall use established communication channels when questions or concerns arise.
  • A member shall promote high standards of ethical practice within the LCI community.
  • A member shall declare any conflict of interest.     
  • A member shall not accept any payment or benefit financially through LSC involvement.