The Wilmington Learning Collaborative has finalized its bylaws, a foundational document in the group’s operations on which the governing council has worked with an attorney for months.
Bylaws are established to set rules, regulations and policies for an organization to help it regulate itself. In part, the bylaws act as a higher authority that all members of the collaborative – present and future – must follow.
The collaborative is designed to improve student achievement and outcomes in nine Wilmington city elementary schools in Brandywine, Christina, and Red Clay school districts.
One goal is to empower families by giving them a role in policy making that aims to tackle societal discrepancies that negatively impact many students in the city.
A section of the bylaws echoes the signed memorandum of understanding that sets a 15-person governing council. It will include the three district superintendents, three parent representatives, three student representatives, a former educator, the executive director, three district board members who represent the city and an appointee from the Wilmington mayor.
A treasurer will also be named at the council’s June 15 meeting and will hold the position until June 30, 2024. This person will be responsible, with the executive director, for disbursing the collaborative’s funds.
The 21-pager also includes minor details of the learning collaborative, such as rules on signing checks and notes, record archives and liability. To read the bylaws, click here.
Here are some highlights.
In previous meetings, members of the council have shared concerns about having their terms expire at the same time.
Dorrell Green, superintendent of Red Clay, said in the group’s June 1 meeting that having a staggered approach to terms will ensure that “everyone doesn’t end up coming off the council at the same time.”
Per the bylaws, Red Clay’s parent representative, Jennie Yeow, will have her term expire in 2024. The mayor’s appointee, Don Patton, will have his term expire in 2025, as well as Christina’s parent representative, Shanette Graham. Both the former educator, Janis McElrath, and Brandywine’s parent representative, Starr Wilson, have their terms expire in 2026.
The voting high school council member, Tarin Johnson, will serve a one-year term.
The two other student representatives, who are non-voting members, have terms dependent on their grade. 10th grade delegates will serve a three-year term and 11th graders will serve a two-year term.
Voting privileges will cycle through student representatives annually.
Meetings, public transparency
The learning collaborative will operate as a public body, meaning it is subject to the rules and procedures set forth in the Freedom of Information Act.
All of the collaborative’s records, such as meeting minutes, agendas, postings and other documents are public records.
Meeting information must be posted at least a week before, unless there is an emergency or special need to reschedule.
The bylaws indicate that for an item to be voted on, a quorum of 8 people must be present, which is a simple majority.
The council can also create committees to work on special projects, such as the executive director search committee. Each committee must report to the full body council with information and updates discussed in the committee meeting.
Members of a committee are responsible for creating guidelines as to how their meetings will operate.
Vacancies and removals
The majority of the governing council must approve removing someone from the group, and if this happens, the council is in charge of appointing the individual’s replacement.
If a member were to resign, the body designated to appoint that member will appoint a replacement for the remainder of that individual’s term.
For example, if Don Patton resigns, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki would appoint his replacement, who would fill the seat until 2025.
Duties of the executive director
The job description for the executive director has been very general until these bylaws.
Whoever is selected will be responsible for administrative management of the learning collaborative, with supervision over the business and affairs of the group.
This person will have oversight of all activities of the organization and will be responsible for the work of the group.
This includes the power to employ and discharge assistants and staff of the learning collaborative with the council’s approval.
The executive director will attend all regular and special meetings of the governing council and will have the right to discuss and to introduce measures but not to vote.
This person will also administer the budget of the group and will relay financial and budget information to the treasurer.
The council will have ongoing duties and obligations for the executive director to abide by.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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