What should be included in a consent agenda and how and why should a consent agenda be used in a board meeting?
A consent agenda generally groups several routine, noncontroversial items together to be voted on under one motion, rather than calling for multiple separate votes. The purpose of consent agendas is to help boards manage time so that they can focus on the most important matters. Appropriately used, the consent agenda frees board meetings from administrative details, repetitious discussion, and misdirected attention.
Advantages of using a consent agenda:
Allows more time for discussion of educational issues
Keeps the meeting flowing smoothly
Keeps the board from straying into operational and administrative areas
Requires board members to be well prepared
Public perception of "rubber-stamp" board
Lack of understanding of what it is and how to use it
Draws undue attention to items when they are removed from the consent agenda
Requires board members to be well-prepared
Items commonly on a consent agenda: treasurer's or financial report (if uneventful), personnel and employment recommendations, enrollment update, superintendent's report, curriculum and instruction reports, routine policy updates, minutes of previous meetings, committee reports, school calendars, confirmation of a decision discussed previously, routine correspondence.
Items on the consent agenda should be routine items that board members don't need any further information on prior to voting. Most boards allow consent agenda items to be removed from the consent agenda and discussed separately upon a board member's request.