All schools are required to have a form of school-based management called a School Leadership Team, or SLT (New York State Education Law Section 2590-h). Administrators, teachers, and parents comprise the SLT, which meets monthly. Team members work together to develop the school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP), which includes the school’s goals and objectives, and ensure that it is aligned with the school’s budget. The SLT also assists in evaluating and assessing the school’s educational programs and their effects on student achievement. In addition, the team provides a forum where issues specific to the school community can be addressed.
SLTs must be composed of an equal number of parents and staff. Three member positions are mandatory: the school’s principal, the PA/PTA president (or a co-president), and a UFT representative; any of these members may be represented by a designee. The other positions are determined by elections for each constituent group: the PA/PTA is required to hold elections for parent representatives, and staff members elect their representatives as well.
SLTs also may include students (minimum of two students is required in high schools) and representatives of Community Based Organizations (CBOs). In total, they should have between 10 and 17 members.*
SLTs are considered public bodies and must adhere to the Open Meetings Law, which provides that "[e]very meeting of a public body shall be open to the general public" (Public Officers Law § 103 [a]).
Although the principal is a mandatory SLT member, there are instances in which the team functions without the principal:
- Members must be consulted prior to the appointment of a principal (or assistant principal).
- Members, other than the principal, may dispute any decision made by the principal where they reach a consensus that the decision is inconsistent with the goals and policies set forth in the school’s existing CEP. The members must submit a written objection to the principal’s decision to the community or high school superintendent.
- Members, other than the principal, shall provide an annual assessment to the community district or high school superintendent of the principal’s record of developing an effective shared decision-making relationship with the SLT members during the year.
Despite their different constituent groups, SLTs must function as true teams. They are required to use consensus-based decision making, in which all participants play a role in the final decision. With this approach, members listen to one another’s contributions and ideas with the goal of arriving at solutions that work for the entire group. Bylaws, mandated for all SLTs, serve as the team’s operating guidelines.
The rules governing the formation, operation, and roles and responsibilities of SLTs and its members are contained in Chancellor’s Regulation A-655 (CR A-655) The addendum to the regulation includes an SLT bylaws template.
*SLT members, including students and CBO representatives, are eligible to receive an annual remuneration of $300. Members may receive the fee upon completing 30 hours of service on the SLT and attending a mandatory DOE training session relating to CEPs and budget issues each year. Members who attend less than 30 hours of the training may request remuneration on a pro-rata basis. Members must choose whether to accept the annual remuneration, or waive it and donate the funds to be used for other school purposes.