The Board of Education believes that all reasonable means should be employed to keep the community served by this district informed on matters of importance regarding district policies, finances, programs, personnel, and operations.
The Board will determine which of its official actions have sufficient community impact and interest to warrant special release; the Board alone will release to the news media information about those matters of importance. The Superintendent may release information regarding Board actions of lesser importance as they have been recorded in the minutes of the Board meetings and upon the request of media representatives. The release of all other publications, photographs, and documents depicting the accomplishments of the pupils and staff of the district shall be approved by the Superintendent or designee.
The school district will not release or publish photographs or release other personal identifying information of an individual district pupil without the prior written permission of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or from the adult pupil. Written permission slips for such release from each parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or adult pupil will be obtained by the Principal or designee for the pupils in their school building or by the Program Administrator for pupils in programs where a Principal is not assigned. These written permission forms shall be maintained by the Principal or Program Administrator. Group photographs may be released by the district without permission, but in no event will an individual pupil in a group photograph be identified by name and/or by other personal identifier without written permission from the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) or adult pupil
The Superintendent shall direct an information program designed to acquaint residents of the community and the public generally with the achievements and the needs of the schools. As a minimum, information shall be disseminated regarding the district’s educational goals; the district’s guarantee of equal educational opportunity; the district’s programs for basic skills improvement, special education, bilingual education, and English as a second language; and summary reports of the administration of statewide assessment tests. Every effort shall be made to foresee and avoid problems caused by misunderstanding or lack of information.
The public information program shall include the publication and distribution of a district newsletter, meetings with parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and interested residents, a presentation and interpretation of the proposed annual budget, periodically distributed calendars and notices of events, the Superintendent’s annual report, and a pupil handbook, as well as the release of news and photographs of school activities for publication.
Notices, publications, and other written materials will be prepared in languages other than English and necessary and appropriate for understanding.
The Board of Education adopts the following strategies to minimize the cost of public relations as defined in N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-9.3(c)14 in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-5.2.
School district publications shall be produced and distributed in the most cost-efficient manner possible that will enable the school district to inform and educate the target community. The use of expensive materials or production techniques where lower cost methods are available, such as the use of multi-color glossy publications instead of suitable, less expensive alternatives, is prohibited.
The school district will not distribute, via mass mailings or other means to the district community at large, publications that include the picture(s) of any members of the Board of Education within ninety days before any election in which any Board member is seeking any elective office or any election relating to school district operations held in the district. Any publication(s) distributed by the Board via mass mailings or other means to the district community at large within sixty days before any election in which any Board member is seeking any elective office or any election relating to school district operations held in the district must be submitted to the Executive County Superintendent for review prior to distribution to ensure that the public funds are being expended in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
Public relations activities, such as booths at Statewide conferences, marketing activities and celebrations for opening schools and community events, and TV productions that are not part of the instructional program or do not provide information about district or Board operations to the public, that are excessive in nature are prohibited. All activities involving promotional efforts to advance a particular position on school elections or any referenda are prohibited.
Nothing in N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-5.2 and this Policy shall preclude the school district from accepting donations or volunteer services from community members, local private education foundations and local business owners to conduct or assist in public relations services. Examples include, but are not limited to: providing school district flyers, newsletters, or other materials containing school-related information of public concern to local businesses, public meeting places, or other local organizations to display or make available for dissemination; making school district related information of public concern available to local newspapers to publish related articles; and utilizing volunteered services of local community members, district employees, members of parent organizations or local businesses with expertise in related areas such as printing, advertising, publishing, or journalism.
The Board of Education will establish annually prior to budget preparation, a maximum dollar limit for public relation, as defined in N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-9.3(c)14. In the
event it becomes necessary to exceed the established maximum dollar limit for public relations, the Superintendent of Schools shall recommend to the Board of Education an increase in the maximum dollar amount for public. Any increase in the maximum dollar amount shall require formal Board action.
Adopted: 21 April 2005
Revised: September 2008