Every public school in Utah has a School Community Council formed of parents and school employees. The School Community Council acts as a liaison between parents and the school, and develops plans for improving the school using funds from the School LAND Trust Plan (the amount varies but is usually between $20,000 and $50,000 per year).
School Community Council Responsibilities:
- Develop a School Improvement Plan
- Develop a School LAND Trust Plan
- Review school U-PASS data (U-PASS is a series of student tests that measure school performance.
- Participate in the development of the Professional Development Plan
- Develop a Child Access Routing Plan (High Schools are not required to do this.)
- Advise the school administration on local school issues
- Provide an opportunity for issues of concern in the community to be presented to the school administration
- Develop a Reading Achievement Plan (Elementary schools only)
(The plans produced by the School Community Council must be approved by the district school board.)
Who's on the School Community Council?
- Faculty/staff members
- Parent/guardian members
- The size of the council may be determined by each individual school. Most councils have at least five members.
- The number of parent/guardian members must exceed the number of faculty/staff members including the principal.
How are Council members elected?
All council members, except the principal, are elected. Employees vote for employees (majority vote), and parents/guardians vote for parents/guardians (majority vote of those voting in a an election held at the school). In the event of vacancies, each group appoints replacement members from within its ranks. The selection of council members should be made no later than July 1 prior to the start of the new school year. Those interested in being on the council should inform the principal.
Where does the funding from the School LAND Trust come from?
There are 3.3 million acres of school trust lands in Utah granted at statehood to support schools. These lands generate revenue, all of which is saved in the permanent State School Fund. This fund is invested and the interest and dividends are distributed to every public school in the state based on enrollment figures. School Community Councils prepare plans, approved by local school boards, that identify an academic need and a proposed solution using the dollars that the school received from the School LAND Trust Fund.
Your School's Community Council
See who's on your School Community Council and read their School Improvement Plan and School LAND Trust Plan.
Remember, if you'd like to become a member of a School Community Council, contact your school's principal.
Parents act as the primary advocates for all children. By working as a group and understanding the legal responsibilities that lie with the principal, parents ensure the representation of various viewpoints and values within the community. Parent engagement is a key element to student achievement and student progress. Parents have at least a two-member majority of a school community council, and are often the driving force. Parents will serve as chair and may serve as vice-chair. It is important that parents on the council understand the responsibilities of the council, and are able to collaborate well with the other members of the council to effect meaningful school improvement for all children.
A Checklist for Parent Members of a School Community Council
• Understand the roles and responsibilities of school community councils and the importance of participation as an elected parent member. Recognize that the primary responsibility of the school community council is to improve student academic performance.
• Understand how to be elected a member of the school community council to represent the parents of students at the school.
• Participate in training about council responsibilities, collaboration, student and school assessments, how to participate in preparing and editing school action plans, school trust lands that provide revenue to schools to implement the School LAND Trust Plan, and the law that directs the money to be spent on the greatest academic need.
• Know where to find additional help and clarification, as needed.
• Attend school community council meetings and actively participate.
• Serve as an officer on the council, or nominate good candidates to fill those roles.
• Represent the needs of all students at the school and promote goals and activities of school parent groups and families in the school community.
• Encourage parent input into school community council issues and decisions and encourage parent involvement in task forces and sub/committees, including requests made of councils by the local school district.
• Collaborate with the council and sub-committees and/or task forces, utilizing the skills and expertise each individual can offer, to bring about the best result for the students.
• Be well informed and seek answers to questions and concerns before a vote is called for.
• Encourage the council to establish written procedures for parent notifications, elections and other council tasks and responsibilities, including rules outlining parliamentary order and procedure, ethical behavior and civil discourse.
• Celebrate successes towards achieving council goals with the parents. Be forthcoming about issues of concern and plans to make improvements. Actively promote school priorities in the community.
• Provide support and encourage ongoing training for newly elected parent members.