Model Policies

SDGA Model Policies offer the means to implement transparent governance, accountability of the staff to the elected school board, accountability of the elected officials to the community, and respect for the primary role of parents as decision makers and moral authorities for their children – all this in contrast to boilerplate promoted by insider consultants generally advising the education bureaucracy.

These policies have been legally reviewed for conformance to NH and federal law, so that NH school board members can propose these policies, or ideas derived from these policies, as responsible alternatives to the default position endorsed by most school district administrations.  When enacting policy, a school board is wise to obtain the advice of its own counsel, and needs to be sensitive to the fact that many of the lawyers working in this field tend to promote the conventional positions.

Any model policies, whether from the SDGA or any other source, are expected to be adapted to the specific needs of the adopting school district.

SDGA is actively developing new model policies, with proposals covering Non-Discrimination, Custodial and Non-Custodial Parents, and School District Legal Counsel currently in the final stages of review.

The Model Policy book is organized using the Section/Code structure promulgated by the NH School Boards Association, and generally followed by most school districts in the state.  The policy book of any given school district may not precisely align with these codes.




B - Governance


Conflict of Interest

This policy binds both school board members and superintendents and prohibits the (new) hiring of relatives of school district elected officials or the superintendent. Officials who were elected subsequent to the district employment of their relative should recuse themselves from discussions and votes on a nomination or issue for which they would have a conflict.

B - Governance


Agenda Preparation and Dissemination

The elected body via its Chair is responsible for the agenda, and members of the body have the right to place items on the agenda for public deliberation.

B - Governance


Public Input at Board Meetings

This policy enshrines the right of the public to make comment at School Board meetings on any topics of concern whether on the agenda or not.

B - Governance



School District Policy Development

This policy asserts the policy-making primacy of the elected School Board as contrasted with other parties such as the professional staff of the school district, the related SAU Board, or related Cooperative School District Board where applicable.  It further requires that the full text of proposed policy changes be public during the period, spanning at least two School Board meetings, that the policy is subject to deliberation and to public comment.

D - Fiscal Management


Preparation of Default Budget
This policy gives detailed guidance to school boards for constructing the default budget, and applies only to New Hampshire school districts which operate under the "Official Ballot Referendum Form of Meeting", also known as "SB2". The policy includes guidance on the definition of one-time expenditures, legal/contractual obligations, special education, reduction in the proposed operating budget, and the requirement for supporting documentation. This policy was written to reflect changes to the default budget law in 2018 for which the SDGA was instrumental.

There is no corresponding policy in the New Hampshire School Board Association model policy book.

G - Personnel


Criminal Records Check
This policy was prepared at the request of the NH Department of Education to reflect changes to legislation in 2017. This policy is to apply to all persons considered for employment with the district, as a student teacher or educational intern, as well as “Designated Volunteers.”

I - Instruction


This policy follows the legal requirements for homeschooling.

I - Instruction


Dual and Concurrent Enrollment
This policy was prepared at the request of the NH Department of Education to clarify dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities between high schools and community colleges and the responsibilities of school districts and their personnel in these programs.

J - Students


Transgender Students

The services and opportunities of the school district must be provided equally to transgender students in accord with federal and state law.  At the same time, the primary role of parents in the care and decision-making on behalf of their children must be respected, and the rights of all members of the school community must be protected.

K - School-Community Relations




Parent Rights and Responsibilities

This policy presents a charter of parent rights which the school district undertakes to honor.  This is rooted in the parents' role as primary care givers and decision makers in the lives of their children.

The School Board Association policy model includes parental involvement as a topic within KB Parent and Community Involvement or KC Community Involvement in Decision Making, which focus on partnership and ascribe no rights to the parents.

K - School-Community Relations


Right to Know
This policy sets school board expectations for both the administration and the board in dealing with Right to Know requests. It states that “RSA 91-A defines the basic legal obligation for providing public information, but it is not the policy of this district to use RSA 91-A as a shield against public requests for information.” This policy sets out numerous provisions for prompt response, appeal by the public to the board after information denials, and the requirement that Right to Know litigation be approved by the board before significant public funds are expended on them.

K - School-Community Relations


Publication of Academic Program Materials 

Provide full transparency of academic materials for the general public, without imposing the need to invoke Right-to-Know law.  This policy covers not only textbooks and classroom materials, but also teacher training materials. 

There is no corresponding policy in the New Hampshire School Board Association model policy book.