Site Council

Site Council Bylaws

Bylaws of the TOPS at Seward Site Council

Originally adopted May 14, 2003
Amended and restated as of June 10, 2020

    1. Purpose of the bylaws. These bylaws establish a set of rules and procedures approved by the TOPS school community to guide the governance functions of the Site Council.
    2. Purpose of the Site Council. The Site Council serves as one of the governing bodies of the school, with responsibilities for leadership, advocacy, fundraising, financial stewardship, and strategic planning to assure the highest standards of educational excellence and an inclusive supportive school community. We operate under the current school district policy with regard to Site Councils.
      1. The purpose of the Site Council at TOPS is to promote students’ intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth in collaboration with the Building Leadership Team. The Site Council will:
        1. Advance the mission of TOPS and its commitment to equity, social justice and compassionate citizenship.
        2. Serve as Directors of the Friends of TOPS nonprofit corporation, providing direction in all fundraising efforts and in allocating funds raised by TOPS families, consistent with the school mission and the Site Council strategic plan
        3. Support staff in their efforts to facilitate and enhance student learning
        4. Enable families to become informed about and help shape the educational and extracurricular programs at TOPS
        5. Build community and communication within TOPS, and between TOPS and the broader community of Seattle
        6. Evaluate the state of the school and parent-funded programs
        7. Advocate for the interests of TOPS with the Seattle School District and the City of Seattle
        8. Attend to other issues, such as student safety or facility maintenance and improvement, as they arise.
    1. Expectations. Members of the Site Council represent and are expected to communicate with their constituency, but they vote in the best interests of the school as a whole. Members of the Site Council are not paid for their services to the Site Council.
    2. Community. The TOPS at Seward Site Community shall be defined as: the building principal, assistant principal (if any), all certificated and classified staff, all in-building program staff, all family members or caregivers of children enrolled in TOPS, and enrolled students.
    3. Site Council. The Site Council membership shall consist of fourteen to twenty individuals, each with one vote.
      1. There shall be four staff members of the Site Council: the principal and three representatives for certificated and non-certificated staff. The principal shall recommend three staff representatives to be approved by Site Council.
      2. There shall be up to sixteen non-staff members of the Site Council. These include:
        1. Nine family members or caregivers of children enrolled in TOPS.
        2. One representative from the Eastlake Community. This representative must not be a TOPS parent.
        3. Up to six at-large parent representatives, including preferentially a member each from TOPS’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) community and from the Parents of Color Caucus.
      3. Election of Members.
        1. Members of the Site Council will be elected, with the exception of the building principal and the Eastlake community representative. Efforts will be made to recruit members who are representative of the entire school population, especially with regard to ethnic and economic diversity.
        2. Three staff representatives from the elementary school, the middle school, and/or from other academic programs will be recommended by the principal and approved by the voting membership of the Site Council.
        3. Nine to fifteen parent representatives will be elected through public ballot by fellow TOPS parents. A parent representative must be a family member or caregiver of a child enrolled at TOPS at the time of the election and must not be employed at TOPS by the Seattle School District. A parent must resign from the Site Council when his or her student(s) stop attending TOPS.
      4. Appointment of members.
        1. The building principal shall automatically serve as an appointed member of the Site Council.
        2. One community representative to be chosen by the Eastlake Community Council. The community representative must not be a parent of a student currently attending TOPS.
      5. Membership Terms.
        1. The Site Council staff membership term shall be for one year, with the option to serve more.
        2. The representative membership term shall be for two years, with representatives serving a maximum of two consecutive terms. The community representative shall be confirmed or re-confirmed to the Site Council annually by the Eastlake Community Council.
        3. A term begins at the June meeting following elections in May.
        4. If a member resigns before the end of his or her term, his or her replacement shall serve to the end of the school year, and shall be eligible to serve an additional two consecutive terms. Replacements will be appointed by the Site Council executive committee and ratified by the voting membership of the Site Council.
      6. Friends of TOPS. Members of the TOPS Site Council automatically serve as directors of the 501(c)(3)(nonprofit) corporation known as ?Friends of the Option Program at Seward (TOPS),? hereafter known as Friends of TOPS, the purpose of which is to provide a legal entity which can accept gifts and donations, and expend the same, to support the educational programs at TOPS.
      7. Removal of members. An elected member of the Site Council may be removed from office for misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance by a recall election, which may be initiated by the Site Council or the constituency group from which the member was elected. The procedures are the following: I) the Site Council may request a recall election after a three-fourths majority vote of its members, or 2) the constituency group (e.g., parents, faculty, classified staff) may request a recall election by a petition containing the signatures of 5 percent of its bona fide members. The recall election will then be conducted by the appropriate constituency group within 60 days of the recall motion or petition.
      8. Nominations Process. The executive committee of the Site Council shall appoint a nominations committee to recruit at least two candidates for each open representative position prior to the scheduled election. Candidates shall be sought who represent the diversity of the school population, who are committed to the concept of school self-governance, and who would be energetic and positive Site Council members. The recruitment process shall include public notice soliciting interested candidates a minimum of four weeks prior to election of new members, to ensure that all TOPS community members are offered the opportunity to participate. The Nominating Committee shall supervise the elections process for Site Council representatives. They shall also see to it that the Eastlake Community Council representative position is filled in the manner prescribed in these bylaws.
      9. Shared Positions. With the consent of the Site Council, two persons may share a single position (one voting seat) as a member of the Site Council.
    1. Leadership. There shall be five officers of the Site Council: chair, assistant chair, secretary, treasurer, and communications manager. These officers shall be elected by the Site Council at its June meeting for the following academic year; only elected (not appointed) members of Site Council shall be eligible to run for an officer position. Those at the June meeting whose terms are expiring shall not vote on new officers. An officer’s term shall be no longer than four years. The assistant chair may be selected with the intention of preparing to serve as chair. An executive committee, consisting of the principal, the elected officers, and any other individuals in positions deemed necessary by the executive committee will serve as a leadership team for the Site Council.
    2. Chair. The powers and duties of the chair shall be to have general supervision, direction, and control of the business and affairs of the Site Council. The Site Council may name one member to serve as Chair, or may appoint two members to serve as co-Chairs.
    3. Assistant Chair. The role of the assistant chair shall be to aid the chair in carrying out his or her functions. In the event that co-Chairs are appointed, the office of Assistant Chair may be left vacant.
    4. Secretary. The powers and duties of the secretary are to keep minutes of all the Site Council meetings, to maintain all important documents (such as bylaws), to maintain and annually publish the Site Council roster, to see that all notices are given with the provisions of these bylaws or as required by law, and generally to perform all duties of the secretary as required by the executive committee of the Site Council.
    5. Treasurer. The treasurer shall chair the Finance and Budget Committee of the Friends of TOPS Corporation, and shall be responsible for financial management of the corporation.
    6. Principal. The Principal of the school serves automatically on the Site Council (although she/he is not eligible to serve as chair), and her/his powers and duties are as described in school district policy.
    7. Communications Manager. The Communications Manager will oversee the email and web schedules, content and posting and be the hub of events communications. This position will also oversee the Email and Web volunteer team and provide editorial guidance as needed to communications and postings, including the school newsletter.
    1. Calling Meetings.
      1. The Site Council shall meet at least once per calendar month in a designated meeting room within the school.
      2. The annual meeting calendar shall be placed in the newsletter, and shall be announced at parent meetings.
      3. Emergency meetings may be called by the executive committee with a minimum of a 24-hour notice to be posted in the school office or on the web site; notice shall include purpose of meeting. All Site Council members must be notified by phone or other means (including email) with at least 24 hours of notice.
      4. All meetings are open and public. The Site Council encourages active participation from the entire school community.
      5. Members may participate in meetings by means of a conference telephone or similar communications equipment by which means all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other at the same time and participation by such means shall constitute presence in person at a meeting.
    2. Action by Written Consent in lieu of a Meeting. Any action permitted by these bylaws to be taken at a meeting of members may be taken without a meeting if a consent, in the form of a record (which may include an email or other form of electronic communication) setting forth the action so taken, shall be executed by all of the members entitled to vote with respect to the subject matter thereof. Such consent shall have the same force and effect as a unanimous vote, and may be described as such. Any such consent shall be inserted in the minutes as if it were the minutes of a meeting of the members.
    3. Absenteeism. If a member has two consecutive unexcused absences, the chair shall contact the person, requesting an explanation of the absences and the member’s intentions about remaining on the Site Council. Such member may be subject to removal by the executive committee.
    4. Agenda Preparation and Distribution. The executive committee shall prepare and distribute an agenda for each Site Council meeting 48 hours in advance of the meeting except in the case of an emergency session.
    5. Committees. The Site Council shall create committees to accomplish its tasks, and shall solicit members to compose such committees.
      1. Two committees are required: the Finance and Budget Committee of the Friends of TOPS Corporation, and the Nominating Committee. The committees shall select their own chairs, with the exception of the Finance and Budget Committee, which is chaired by the elected treasurer, and the Nominating Committee, whose chair is appointed by the executive committee.
      2. Committees may involve people who are not on the Site Council, and will determine their own meeting schedules.
      3. Committees are expected to send representatives to the Site Council meetings to report on their activities, and are permitted to participate fully in Site Council discussions.
    6. Decision Making. In making decisions, all present are afforded an opportunity to understand the issue under discussion and to participate in the discussion. The chair of the Site Council is responsible for moving the group towards, and listening for, consensus.
      1. While everyone present is eligible to participate in the discussion, only members of the Site Council are eligible to participate when a vote is taken. Each Site Council member has one vote; in the case of a shared Site Council seat, those sharing the Site Council position also share a single vote.
      2. A quorum must be present in order for a vote to be taken. A quorum shall consist of at least half of the Site Council members, including at least [two] staff members (principal and/or teachers).
      3. Decisions shall be made by simple majority vote (over 50%) of Site Council members present.
    7. Records. A file of the current strategic plan, Site Council policies, and minutes shall be maintained by the secretary in the school library and/or the school office and/or the TOPS website at all times. Minutes of the last Site Council meeting shall be distributed to all Site Council members, along with the agenda of the upcoming meeting, 48 hours prior to each meeting.
    8. Finance. The Friends of TOPS corporation shall have a Finance and Budget Committee composed of three persons, one being the Treasurer of Friends of TOPS. Responsibilities should be divided for control purposes as follows: one person will make deposits; a second person will write and sign checks; the Treasurer will approve check requests, balance accounts, and prepare reports to the IRS and Site Council, and perform other duties as necessary. It is advised that the Treasurer have an accounting background.
    9. Plan and Policy Adoption. The site council shall be responsible for adopting an annual strategic plan. It shall also adopt policies which it believes contribute to academic excellence and building a sense of community.
    10. Principal Evaluation and Selection. The site council shall participate in an annual evaluation of the principal and will actively participate in the selection of a new principal should a vacancy occur.
    1. Bylaws modifications may be made by majority vote of the Site Council membership when:
      1. The proposed changes have been announced in the school newsletter and/or publicized to the TOPS community, and
      2. The proposed changes have been discussed at one meeting and are voted on at the following meeting.
    1. The Site Council may dissolve itself at any time provided it believes it has given the school community adequate time and opportunity for discussion.