How Does the WASB Take Positions on Issues?

Positions taken by the WASB are determined through a member-driven process and are subject to a continuous cycle of annual review. Board members and boards play a critical role. The formal review process begins in late September with the first meeting of the WASB Policy and Resolutions Committee.

The Policy and Resolutions Committee is appointed annually by the WASB president following recommendations by the members of the WASB Board of Directors.  The committee is comprised of a least one school board member from each WASB region and from each type of school district (i.e., common, unified, K-8 and UHS) operating in the state.

Prior to that late September meeting individual school boards decide on what proposed changes they want to submit for consideration, and submit their recommendations in the form of a board resolution (or multiple resolutions). Member boards must submit their proposed resolutions for the January 2016 Delegate Assembly by Sept. 15, 2015.

The WASB By-Laws provide for these member suggestions, which are reviewed and considered by the Policy and Resolutions Committee, and specify that to be considered by the annual Delegate Assembly in January, proposals for WASB resolutions may be submitted by any member district board to the WASB on or before the preceding Sept. 15. Member boards may also make informal suggestions to the Policy and Resolutions Committee member from their WASB region.

During the first meeting of the WASB Policy and Resolutions Committee, committee members review the most recent edition of WASB Resolutions Adopted by Delegate Assemblies book. With one eye to the past and one eye to the future, they examine the book for obsolete opinions which should be deleted, for outdated language which should be revised, and for position statements that have not yet been included but which should be brought before the membership for deliberation in light of current legislation or other circumstances.

During its deliberations in the fall, the committee receives input on significant policy issues from a number of sources. In addition to resolution suggestions from WASB member boards, the committee reviews issues and initiatives which the governor, legislators, state agency officials and others have identified as needing to be addressed. Committee members also may receive member input at the fall regional meetings.

During the committee’s second meeting in November, all of this material is reviewed and the selection process begins regarding what positions will be proposed as resolutions to be brought before the Delegate Assembly in January. The committee decides what the final resolutions will be, keeping in mind what can reasonably be dealt with in one session at the convention.

There is also a procedure to allow “emergency resolutions” to be introduced during the Delegate Assembly, but only after the Policy & Resolutions committee’s recommended resolutions are considered and only if two-thirds of the Delegates vote to consider the resolution.  “Emergency resolutions” are defined by the WASB Bylaws as a “resolution that deals with a concern that arises between Nov. 1 and the time of the Delegate Assembly and could not have been presented earlier due to the emergency nature of the subject.” In order to be considered, emergency resolutions must have been received by the Policy & Resolutions Committee on the day before the Delegate Assembly.

The final decision about what becomes the WASB position rests with the Delegate Assembly, which is comprised of one representative (i.e., delegate) from each WASB member school board and each CESA board of control and each of the 15 members of the WASB Board of Directors and meets annually in January at the state education convention in Milwaukee.  Resolutions are approved or rejected by a majority vote of the delegates present.

Two exceptions to this process may produce official WASB positions. If an opinion is needed which cannot be discerned from the WASB resolutions and which cannot wait until the next Delegate Assembly, the WASB Board of Directors may act to determine a policy. The WASB By-Laws also provide for the convening of a special Delegate Assembly; however, that provision has been used very rarely. The last time it was used in modern WASB history was to address the proposed legislation (in 1979) that resulted in enactment of the state’s mediation-arbitration law that was  repealed by 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.

Copies of the WASB Resolutions Adopted by Delegate Assemblies book are distributed after each annual revision is completed usually in late June or early July.  Hard copies are mailed to school board presidents, district administrators and CESA administrators. Delegates receive their copies in late Fall along with their Delegate Assembly packets.  Copies of the Resolution book are available at the annual convention and from the WASB offices and the contents of the book are also posted online on the WASB website.

Your board may wish to review the existing resolutions to see if there are concerns that you would like to see addressed that are not currently included among the resolutions in the book.

As you review the existing WASB resolutions, please note that the numbers in parenthesis following a resolution indicate the year (and number the resolution was given that year) when the resolution was adopted or amended (if applicable).