Why WASB resolutions matter and why your board should be involved

More and more stories are appearing in the media about policy resolutions local school boards are debating and adopting that could play a big role in shaping the WASB’s policy direction, including its legislative advocacy. Your board has until Sept. 15 to adopt and submit a resolution to either set or change the direction of the WASB’s policies and legislative advocacy.

Here’s a refresher on how the WASB resolution process works and why it is important:

The WASB is a member-driven organization.  Our positions on policy issues are determined by resolutions adopted by the WASB Delegate Assembly, which meets annually at the time of the State Education Convention in January. The resolutions adopted by school board member delegates at the Delegate Assembly become official positions of the WASB, are published in our Resolution Book, and remain in force until amended or repealed.

The process begins months earlier.  Individual boards initiate this process by adopting board resolutions on various K-12 education-related topics and submitting them to the WASB by a September 15 deadline.

Once these resolution ideas are submitted, the WASB Policy and Resolutions Committee, comprised of about 25 school board members appointed each year from across the state and from within each of the 15 WASB Regions, reviews and evaluates them and determines which ones will advance to the Delegate Assembly.

Three things can happen. The committee may advance the resolution as submitted. Or it may advance a resolution but suggest a modification. Sometimes, the committee will turn down (i.e., not advance) a submitted resolution.

Delegates do not merely cast an up or down vote on each resolution but have the opportunity to propose and adopt amendments to the resolutions that come before them. Resolutions are often amended on the floor of the Delegate Assembly

While the Policy and Resolutions Committee has a strong say, it doesn’t necessarily have the final say. If a resolution is turned down by the committee, that is not necessarily the end of the story. Under the WASB Bylaws, resolutions that are turned down by the committee are still afforded an opportunity to be brought to the Delegate Assembly floor. At the appropriate order of business the delegate from the member board that originally offered the turned down resolution may be recognized and may move consideration of the turned down resolution. If two-thirds (2/3) of the delegates vote in favor of the motion for consideration, the turned down resolution may be considered by delegates. At that point, the resolution is debated and a simple majority vote is required for adoption. The initial question is adoption of the resolution as originally submitted, although amendments are offered.

The process for handling any resolutions submitted this year will be the same as described above as it has in the past. Resolutions submitted by Sept. 15 will be vetted by the Policy and Resolutions committee and will be either recommended as-written, modified or turned down.

This is a member-driven process. The WASB staff does not advocate for or against submitted resolutions during this process. The role of staff is to facilitate discussion and debate first by the Policy and Resolutions Committee and secondly by our membership. It is the membership who will decide the fate of each resolution.

Your participation and careful attention is important.