A BPM is a Board Policy Manual. Why do you need one? Because otherwise your board is operating either on an ad hoc basic or your by-laws are far more detailed than they need to be.
A BPM captures all of the relevant policies that allow your board to operate efficiently as well as predictably. What might a BPM look like?
The board policy manual contains essential policies that allow both board members and members of the charter school community to know how the board operates. The BPM should include sections on:
- Board configuration and operations
- Standing committees
- Matters on which the board has authority
- Authority and Expectations of the Executive Director/Principal who reports to the board
- A statement of the mission, vision and values as well as how they are developed and how they might be changed
- A statement on strategies and goals
The board policy manual should be used consistently with the understanding by board members that it can be modified at any time by a board vote. Because it is binding and yet easily modified, it need not restrict a board when it realizes that a policy was not well written or is no longer useful.
The BPM is also helpful for the head of school to know his or her boundaries and the basis on which evaluation will take place. The initial writing of the manual could be time consuming, but future review and editing need not take much time at all. While editing can take place at any time a policy is found to be out of date, a board should also review the document formally at least once a year for potential updates, additions or edits.
Using a BPM and using it consistently makes the entire governance process both more transparent and more efficient.