The school department shall be under the control and general supervision of the school committee which shall consist of five members who shall be elected by districts of the town, which districts shall be the same as those by which the town councilmen are elected, at the regular biennial elections held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even numbered years. Their terms shall be for four years and until their respective successors are elected and qualified. Two members of the committee shall be elected at the first said election (1964) after the adoption of this Charter and at said elections every fourth year thereafter, and three members shall be elected at the subsequent biennial election (1966) and at said elections every fourth year thereafter.
Members of the school committee shall be electors of the town and shall hold no other paid office or employment in the service of the town or of the state or federal government except that of notary public, justice of the peace, call or volunteer fireman or member of the national guard or armed forces reserve. If a committee member shall cease to possess any of these qualifications or shall be convicted of a felony, his office shall immediately become vacant.
Any vacancy in the membership of the school committee shall be filled by written ballot of a majority of all the members of the town council for the remainder of the term of office of the council; provided, that the person selected to fill said vacancy shall be a resident of the same district and a member of the same political party as the person whose position he is elected to fill. If the unexpired term of any vacancy if for more than two years, a member shall be elected at the next regular town election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.
Members of the school committee shall receive such annual salary or stipends as may be set by the school committee; provided, that any increase in pay shall not become effective until the first day of January following the first November election subsequent to such action by the school committee. Expenses incurred on official business outside the state, when authorized by the school committee shall also be paid upon submission of an approved voucher.
The school committee shall elect one of its members as chairman and one of its members as vice chairman. The one acting as chairman shall sign any orders or official papers of the committee. The committee shall elect a clerk, who, under the direction of the committee, shall keep a journal of the proceedings of the committee. Either chairman or vice chairman or clerk may be removed for cause by the committee. The committee shall adopt its own rules and order of business and shall hold at least nine regular meetings in every school year, at such time and place within the town as the committee shall fix and determine by general order.
The school committee shall determine and control all policies affecting the administration, maintenance and operation of the public school and libraries, and shall have all the powers and perform all the duties as prescribed by the laws of the state.
The school committee shall appoint and establish the compensation of a superintendent, of schools as its chief administrative agent who shall have, under the direction of the school committee, the care and supervision of the public schools. No person shall be employed as superintendent of schools unless such person holds a certificate of qualification issued by or under the authority of the state board of education. The employment of the superintendent may be guaranteed by a written contract for not linger than three years, but which may be renewed for an indefinite number of times by mutual action and consent of both parties thereto.
The appointment and removal of all school employees and fixing of salaries shall be made by the school committee upon recommendation of the superintendent of schools, except as may be provided otherwise by the laws of the state. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the school committee, as far as is consistent with the laws of the state, shall deal with the administration of the public schools solely through the superintendent of schools and neither the school committee nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the superintendent of schools, either publicly or privately. All details of administration shall be handled by the superintendent or other administrative officers to whom he delegates the work.
The school committee shall submit budget estimates in the same manner as other departments to the mayor who shall consider the budget estimate and take appropriate action as herein provided for.
The school department shall through its own proper agents purchase and distribute such supplies and materials as are required by the public schools.
The school committee shall be responsible for the location of schools, and for the maintenance, care and upkeep of such buildings and grounds, but at the request of the school committee, the mayor may direct the department of public works to do any such work; provided, that the costs are charged against the appropriations for the public schools. In the construction of new school buildings, the responsibility shall be placed upon a school building commission of nine members of whom three shall be members of the town council, three members of whom shall be members of the school committee and three shall be members of the town planning board. In addition, the superintendent of schools shall serve ex officio on said commission.
The school committee shall prepare a complete report of its finances and activities annually and make available for public inspection copies of the report at the offices of the school committee and of the town clerk, on or before August thirty-first each year.
The school committee shall have the power to issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify and produce records as prescribed by law.
The meetings of the school committee, except when in executive session, shall be open and accessible to the public. Final action on all school matters shall be taken only in open meetings, except on disciplinary and other personnel matters, the disclosure of which, in the opinion of the school committee, would be detrimental to any pupil or member of school personnel involved. Where the school committee considers the disclosure in said cases detrimental as aforesaid, its action shall be recorded separately, and may be kept confidential and shall not be considered a public record.
No member of the school committee shall vote in the matter of any contract, job, work, or service or the purchase of any property in which he is interested directly or indirectly, nor shall be take any official action relating thereto. All such transactions shall be by the authority of the school committee with the interested member not voting.
The school committee shall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as are prescribed by law and as are not inconsistent with this Charter.