What are the appropriate procedures for hiring a charter administrator?
For most K-12 education agencies, when building principals are hired, the superintendent completes the entire process without regard to public meeting laws. When a charter school is the one who is doing the hiring, the responsibility for the selection process falls to the members of the charter board. As a result of this difference, the selection process must comply with Oregon's public meeting statutes. Failure to comply with the applicable public meeting requirements leaves board members subject to potential fines from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
Non-profit charter school boards are required to comply with the same Public Meeting requirements that apply to their sponsoring public school boards.
There are specific steps which can be followed to allow for a certain amount of confidentiality in the search process; interviewing, considering charter administrator candidates in executive session and not revealing applicant names until they narrow their list to a very few finalists, are a few examples of how confidentiality can be ensured. Inclusion of these steps in a search process will likely result in more applications.
In order to be eligible to implement this process for the selection of their administrator, the charter board must meet the conditions specified in ORS 192.660 &7)(d):
The public body has advertized the vacancy;
The public body has adopted regular hiring procedures;
In the case of an officer, the public has had the opportunity to comment on the employment of the officer; and
In the case of a chief executive officer, the governing body has adopted hiring standards, criteria and policy directives in meetings open to the public in which the public has had the opportunity to comment on the standards, criteria and policy directives.
It does not matter whether the process is conducted by the entire board or by a committee of the board. Both are considered public bodies and are subject to public meeting requirements.
For additional information, please review these previous Ask Betsy questions: