Establishing policy is at the heart of the responsibilities of a
local school committee. When policies are clear, well documented and
well organized in an easily accessible form, the task of carrying out
these policies by school administrators, staff, and school committees is
made much easier. Policies also need to be accessible and
understandable for the public.
This manual contains the official policies of the Amherst, Pelham,
and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts. Policy development is an
ongoing process. New issues, needs, laws, and problems require the
development of new policies and the revision of existing policies.
The loose-leaf format easily allows the manual to be kept up to
date. Each person responsible for a copy of the manual should be
diligent about keeping it up to date when new policies approved by the
School Committees are distributed by the Central Office.
All policy manuals are the property of the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools.
Organization of the Policy Manual
The policies in this manual are organized using the classification
system created by the National School Boards Association. There are
twelve major categories in this classification, and each category is
assigned a letter of the alphabet:
A --- FOUNDATIONS AND BASIC COMMITMENTS
B --- SCHOOL COMMITTEE GOVERNANCE AND OPERATIONS
C --- GENERAL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION
D --- FISCAL MANAGEMENT
E --- SUPPORT SERVICES
F --- FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT
G --- PERSONNEL
H --- NEGOTIATIONS
I --- INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM
J --- STUDENTS
K --- SCHOOL-COMMUNITY RELATIONS
L --- EDUCATION AGENCY RELATIONS
Within each of the twelve categories of the NSBA policy
classification system, numerous sub-classifications for policy topics
are arranged in logical order. Each policy in this manual has been
assigned an identifying alphabetical code corresponding to that
classification system. For example, policies dealing with fiscal
management are located in Section D and each has a code beginning with
the letter “D”. The additional letters in each policy’s code are
determined by the particular topic covered by the policy.
Wherever possible, an existing code for a specific policy in the NSBA
classification system is assigned to a policy in this manual. When a
policy topic is not covered in the existing NSBA codes, additional
letter or letters are added to the closest topic code to create a
Regulations and Reference Documents:
-R following a code indicates that the included document is a regulation, not a School Committee policy.
-E following a code indicates that the included document is an
exhibit or reference document, such as a form or legal agreement etc.,
rather than a School Committee policy.
-G following a code in Section B on School Committee is a voted guideline for committee operations.
Where possible, the original date on which the policy was adopted by
the School Committee appears immediately after the policy. In other
cases, an approximate date or a re-approval date is listed.
Pertinent legal references are listed to inform the reader where in
the applicable statutes may be found in state law or federal law. The
General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are cited as MGL
chapter and section. The Code of Massachusetts Regulations is cited as
Agreements reached through negotiations with recognized staff
organizations have the full force of committee policy. References to
negotiated agreements are provided, as appropriate, to direct the reader
to these agreements.
Some policies and regulations relate to others. Cross-references are
provided following many statements to help the reader find all of the
Distinction between Policies and Regulations:
Generally, the role of the School Committee is to set policy and the
role of the administration is to implement the policy through
regulations. Written policies are the chief means by which the School
Committee governs the school district, and written regulations are one
of the means by which the committee’s policies are implemented. The
following NSBA definitions provide a distinction between policies and
Policies are principles adopted by the School
Committee to chart a course of action. They are broad enough to
indicate a line of action to be taken by the administration in meeting a
variety of day-to-day problems while being narrow enough to give the
administration clear guidance.
Regulations are detailed directions usually developed by the administration to put policy into practice.
These definitions reflect the separate roles of governance and
administration, but policies and regulations are closely related.
Policies and regulations can be difficult to separate unambiguously.
- State and Federal law require School Committees to make or
officially approve some detailed regulations and procedures in certain
- A School Committee signs contracts and agreements that may contains
and interweave policies, regulations, and procedural details.
- The public, staff, or School Committee members may insist that the
School Committee itself establish specific regulations and procedures in
certain sensitive areas.
As long as the administration operates within the guidelines of
policy adopted by the School Committee, it may issue regulations without
prior committee approval, unless the law requires committee action, or
unless the committee has specifically asked that certain types of
regulations be submitted for committee approval. The School Committee
is to be informed of all school system regulations issued by the
administration. All such regulations are subject to committee review
for agreement with policy.
Is the Manual Complete?
No. The manual contains all of the current written policies of the
School Committee to date. But there is continuing need for putting
additional policies in writing, for adopting new policies and revising
existing policies. In addition, policy changes may be required when
state and federal laws change and when regulations change.
No matter how well conceived and developed, a policy manual can never
by 100% complete nor 100% up-to-date. Policy development is an ongoing
process. Periodically, new policies, regulations, and reference
documents will be developed, coded under the classification system, and
issued for insertion into the manual.
Order of Precedence:
School Committee policies, regulations, and negotiated agreements
with staff bargaining units must be read and interpreted in the context
of the Massachusetts General Laws and State regulations. Wherever
inconsistencies of interpretation arise, the law and state regulations
prevail. A conflict between a local policy or regulation and a
negotiated agreement must be interpreted in line with the contract for
members of the particular bargaining unit.
It is the hope of the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional
School Committees that this collection of policies and regulations will
make greater harmony and efficiency possible in all areas of school
operations. This will enable the committee to devote more time to its
primary duty – the development of long-range policies and planning for
the future of the school system.
Source: Massachusetts Association of School Committees 2006
Region Voted to Approve:
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve: