The school site council is a group of teachers, parents, classified employees, and students (at the high school level) that works with the principal to develop, review, and evaluate school improvement programs and school budgets. The members of the site council are generally elected by their peers. For example, parents elect parent representatives, and teachers elect teachers.
The exact duties of school site councils vary from state to state, and even between districts in the same state, but site councils generally advise the principal on the school budget and the academic or school improvement plan. In addition to academic planning, many site councils are also responsible for making decisions about parent engagement, safety, and discipline.
Over the course of a year, a typical council might consider the goals of the school and/or district, and then work with the principal to evaluate the school's progress toward those goals. In this evaluation, the council might consider school’s test scores, attendance, discipline records, parent surveys, and input from students.
After looking at the big picture of the school's progress, the council and the principal create a plan for improvement. This plan might involve a new academic program, staff member, and/or parent outreach strategy. For example, one council might use funds to develop a new math program, while another might decide to hire a reading specialist. Because school budgets are limited and many funds can only be spent in certain ways, there are always tough decisions to make.
Successful school site councils, regardless of their specific agendas, are more than a "rubber stamp" committee, and always ask thoughtful and challenging questions. School site council members don't just represent their own interests. They have an obligation to make decisions that will best serve the whole school community. In fact, many site councils are specifically charged with finding ways to close gaps in achievement between groups of students.
Categorical funds are federal and state monies that are available for specific purposes. SSC’s decide how to spend categorical funds at the school site. Below is a description of these funds:
Economic Impact Aid/State Compensatory Education (EIA/SCE)
Purpose: To help educationally disadvantaged students succeed in the regular program.
EIA/SCE is a program supporting additional educational services for students achieving below grade level.
This fund should help students in the Core Program.
Economic Impact Aid/English Learner Program (EIA/LEP)
Purpose: To develop fluency in English and academic proficiency of English Learners.
EIA/LEP funds should help to develop fluency in English and academic proficiency of English Learners.
School/Library Improvement Block Grant (SLIBG)
Purpose: To improve school response to educational, personal and career needs of all students.
SLIBG is a program for K-12 students to improve instruction, services, school environment and organization at school according to plans developed.
Targeted Instructional Improvement Grant (TIIG)
Purpose: A program for K-12 to improve the academic achievement of the lowest performing students.
TIIG is a program to provide instructional improvement for low achieving secondary level (7th-12th grade) pupils.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
General Fund (unrestricted-the district controls this fund and it is primarily used to pay for teachers and staff salaries and other operating costs)
No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Title I: A K-12 program to provide Supplemental Educational Support to low-achieving children in high poverty schools, English learners, migrant children, children with disabilities, neglected or delinquent children, and young children in need of reading assistance. Provides professional development supportive of student achievement, and promotes parent education and involvement.
Title I: School-wide Program
Purpose: Upgrade the entire educational program of the school.
Title I: Targeted Assistance Program
Purpose: Help students achieving below grade level with proficiency.
Expenditures are allowable if they:
Provide an effective means of achieving the purposes of the program funding source
Are a reasonable use of limited resources
Are necessary to achieve the goals of the plan
Provide Supplementary services for eligible students.
Funds “Supplement (add to), and not Supplant (replace)" state and local expenditures