What are the responsibilities of the District Education Councils (DEC)?
DECs focus on education issues at the district level. They develop policies which detail the district goals and expectations. Once the goals and expectations are set, they monitor the results. The members of the DEC are volunteers. Members are elected or appointed from the community to serve four-year terms of office. The DEC currently has the following responsibilities:
- Hire, direct and establish limits for the Superintendent (their sole employee);
- Establish governance policy;
- Develop and monitor District Education Plans;
- Set district policy within the framework of provincial policy;
- Review district performance reports and make them public;
- Review School Improvement Plans, and school performance reports for each school in the district;
- Ensure the Superintendent follows provincial policies and procedures;
- Have management, care and control of school property;
- Monitor budget and expended funds (district expenditure plan);
- Facilitate community use of schools;
- Initiate school establishment and closures;
- Maintain linkages with Parent School Support Committees and the community;
- Monitor trust fund expenditures;
- Review Superintendent performance on an annual basis;
- Identify capital construction project priorities.
A District Education Council does not:
- Establish the school calendar or curriculum;
- Set provincial education standards;
- Develop provincial budgets;
- Intervene in daily operations of the school district.
How do DECs make the decisions which guide education in my district?
A governance model determines the way an organization is structured; it sets out who makes decisions and how those decisions are reached. DECs use a policy governance model to set the strategic direction of the school district. The model was originally based on the Carver model. This governance model has been adapted to meet the unique structure of New Brunswick’s education system. Each district has its own independent council of elected members.
The DEC develops policies and uses ongoing monitoring to ensure district goals are being met, risks are being effectively managed, and that district resources are being used responsibly. The Superintendent is the employee of the DEC and is responsible for day-to-day operations in the district. The policies developed by the DEC provide direction to the Superintendent.
District Education Councils guide the Superintendent using policies that fall into four main categories.
- Governance Process Policies – define how the members of the DEC will work together to make decisions, maintain accountability, measure the performance of the district, and create linkages with the public.
- Ends Policies – the DEC creates ends policies to set the direction of the district, monitor progress, and define the long-term results to be achieved by the Superintendent.
- Executive limitations – the DEC limits and controls the Superintendent’s decisions by outlining what the Superintendent cannot do without the approval of the Council.
- Council-Superintendent Linkage – the DEC sets out the manner, process, and timelines for monitoring the Superintendent’s progress achieving the goals of the Ends policies and working within the Executive limitations they have provided.
This model allows the DECs to focus on the end results and provide guidelines for the Superintendent when managing the day-to-day operations.
The members of the DEC bring together many perspectives and opinions. All DEC members are encouraged to contribute to discussion and debate at DEC meetings. The DEC governs as a single body. Decisions are made by consensus whenever possible. If a consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by a majority vote. While individuals may disagree with the outcome of the vote, they must respect that the decision was made fairly and support the direction the council has elected to take.
DEC members are encouraged to become involved in committees, stakeholder consultations, and professional development opportunities at the local and provincial level.
What are the roles of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the DEC?
Regulation 2001-48 of the Education Act outlines the requirements for the election of officers of the DEC in s. 26. The DEC elects a Chair who facilitates the meetings of the Council and acts as a representative of the DEC between meetings of the Council. The role of the Chair involves a great deal of time and commitment. It involves working closely with the Superintendent, speaking to the media on behalf of the DEC, and acting as a representative of the district. When working collaboratively with other DECs and in meetings and consultations with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development the person elected as Chair represents the Council.
A Vice-Chair is elected to fill the role of the Chair if they are unable to perform the duties of Chair due to illness, a conflict of interest, or some other reason.
How can I become a member of the DEC in my district?
You can find more information on getting involved and the election process on this site and on the Elections New Brunswick website.