TITLE 16
Education

CHAPTER 16-26
School for the Deaf [See Title 16 Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]

SECTION 16-26-3.1


§ 16-26-3.1 Board of Trustees.

(a) The powers delegated and authorized in this chapter for the board of regents for elementary and secondary education and the department of elementary and secondary education shall be in addition to those previously authorized by any other general or public law.

(b) The governance, funding, and programming of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations formulated by the board of regents for elementary and secondary education pursuant to chapter 35 of title 42.

(c)(1) The purpose of this chapter is to restructure the governance of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf.

(2) The School for the Deaf shall be operated as a local education agency and shall be governed by a board of trustees. With the exception of those powers and duties reserved to the director, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, and the board of regents for elementary and secondary education, the board of trustees shall have the powers and duties of a school committee.

(3) The board of regents for elementary and secondary education shall appoint the members of the board of trustees from nominations made by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The chairperson shall also be selected in this manner. The board of regents for elementary and secondary education shall determine the qualifications and terms of office of members of the board of trustees. The board of trustees shall be comprised of nine (9) individuals, not less than five (5) of whom shall be persons who are deaf and hard of hearing. The commissioner may seek input on nominations of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing from organizations whose membership is primarily made up of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, or organizations whose purpose is advocacy for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, as well as from other sources. For purposes of obtaining input from diverse sources regarding suggestions for nominations for the first trustees to be nominated by the commissioner, the commissioner shall convene a public quorum to obtain broad input prior to making the initial nominations for the founding membership on the board of trustees. No person in any way employed by or doing business with the Rhode Island School for the Deaf shall serve on the board of trustees.

(4) The board of regents shall establish strategic directions for the education of deaf and hard of hearing children in the state of Rhode Island.

(5) The board of regents shall provide parameters for budget requests, recommend a budget, and participate in budget development.

(d)(1) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall recommend parameters for the overall budget requests, recommend a budget, and participate in budget development.

(2) The commissioner shall approve the process for selection of a director of the school.

(e) The board of trustees shall meet monthly and serve without compensation. Seven (7) members of the board of trustees shall be required to attend teacher appeal meetings pursuant to § 16-13-4. The board of trustees shall have broad policy making authority of the operation of the school consistent with this subsection and the following powers and duties:

(1) To identify the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children in the state of Rhode Island.

(2) To develop educational policies to meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children served by the school for the deaf.

(3) To appoint a director of the school to serve as its chief executive officer and to approve assistant directors from nominations made by the director.

(4) To provide policy guidance and participate in budget development.

(5) To develop staffing policies which ensure that all students are taught by educators of the highest possible quality.

(f)(1) The director shall serve at the pleasure of the board of trustees with the initial appointment to be for a period of not more than five (5) years; provided, that the term and conditions of employment are subject to the approval of the board of regents for elementary and secondary education.

(2) It is the responsibility of the director to manage and operate the school on a day to day basis. The director's responsibilities shall include the following:

(i) To be responsible for the entire care, supervision, and management of the school for the deaf.

(ii) To recommend to the board of regents educational policies to meet the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing children and to implement policies established by the board of trustees.

(iii) To present nominations to the board of trustees for assistant administrators and to appoint all other school personnel.

(iv) To provide for the evaluation of all school personnel.

(v) To establish a school based management approach for decision making for the operation of the school.

(vi) To report to the board of trustees on a regular basis the financial condition and the operation of the school, and to report annually on the educational progress of the school.

(vii) To establish appropriate advisory committees as needed to provide guidance and feedback on the operation of the school.

(viii) To make himself or herself available to the board of trustees and to attend board of trustees meetings to provide a link between the school and the board of trustees.

(g) With policy guidance from the board of trustees and extensive involvement of the administrators and faculty of the school, the director shall annually prepare a budget. The board of trustees will approve the budget and transmit it to the commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The board of regents for elementary and secondary education shall provide parameters for the overall budget request. Based on review and recommendations for the commissioner, the board of regents shall approve the total budget and incorporate it into its budget request to the governor and to the general assembly. Line item budgeting decisions shall be the responsibility of the director.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or interfere with the rights of teachers and other school employees to bargain collectively pursuant to chapters 9.3 and 9.4 of title 28 or to allow the board of trustees or the director to abrogate any agreement by collective bargaining. Employees at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf shall continue to be state employees and the bargaining units which are presently established at the school shall remain intact.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1999, ch. 103, § 3; P.L. 1999, ch. 274, § 3.)