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I.D. BOARD POWERS, DUTIES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES

I.D. BOARD POWERS, DUTIES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES

I.D.1. Board of Trustees

I.D.1.01. Policy

All authority over the College not vested by Texas law in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board or in the Texas Education Agency shall be reserved and retained locally by the College or its Board as provided by applicable law. The Board and each Trustee perform their responsibilities and duties to the best of their collective and individual abilities.

I.D.1.02. Definitions

(a) Trustee means an individual legally chosen to serve on the Board, whose term of office has begun and not yet ended.

I.D.1.03. Official Board Action

The Board acts only in official meetings that comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act. Each Board decision binds the entire Board, and Trustees support the Board’s majority decisions even when they voted against the decision.

The Board acts as a unit; therefore, Trustees exercise authority only as a group and only in Board meetings properly announced, convened, and conducted by at least a quorum of the Board. Nevertheless, each Trustee has legal fiduciary responsibilities in managing College funds. The Board has final authority to adopt and interpret policies governing the College and, within limits imposed by other legal authorities, has full control over the College.

The Board (a) systematically and comprehensively reviews and evaluates College policies to ensure that they are current, relevant, and useful; (b) focuses on policy, not administrative matters; (c) considers and respects minority opinions and makes decisions independent of bias for or against any specific subset of the community; (d) has adequate input into planning meeting agendas; and (e) ensures that recruitment and selection processes reflect well on the College and attract excellent candidates.

I.D.1.04. General Powers and Duties

The Board, composed of lay Trustees, exercises a traditional, time-honored role—the keystone of the College’s governance structure. The Board (a) preserves institutional independence and manages College affairs through its chosen administrators and employees; (b) enhances the College’s public image; (c) interprets the community to the College and interprets the College to the community; (d) nurtures the College to achieve its full potential within its role and mission; and (e) insists on clarity in the College’s focus and mission.

The Board ensures that the College is integral to its community and serves its ever-changing needs. Trustees are accountable to the community for the College’s performance and welfare. The Board functions as a cohesive group to articulate and represent a balanced College and public interest, establish a climate for learning, and monitor the College’s effectiveness. The Board does not do the College’s work; rather, it establishes vision for the College’s work by adopting policies.

I.D.1.05. Specifically Defined Powers and Duties

Under Texas law, the Board has the following specific powers and duties (among others):

(a)   The Board governs and controls the College’s establishment and management by applying applicable general law and specific laws governing public community colleges. The Board has exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the College’s management.

(b)  Within the limits of Texas law, the Board sets and collects any amount of tuition, rentals, rates, charges, and fees it considers necessary for the College’s efficient operation. It may set different tuition rates for each program, course, or course level the College offers to reflect course costs, promote efficiency, or for any other rational purpose.

(c)   The Board directs the College by adopting policies.

(d)  The Board adopts an annual budget with an itemized current operating budget before September 1st of every year.

(e)   The Board conducts an annual audit under the approved financial reporting system.

(f)    The Board submits annual reports to the Texas governor, comptroller, state treasurer, state auditor, and legislative budget board.

(g)   The Board may from time to time receive bequests and gifts. Bequests and gifts must be received, if accepted, on behalf of the Lone Star College System Foundation. The Chancellor, or designee, submits reports at least quarterly to the Board documenting all bequests and gifts received.

(h)  The Board may set up an endowment fund outside the state treasury in a depository it selects.

(i)     The Board appoints, evaluates, and assists the Chancellor to meet performance goals.

(j)    The Board appoints or employs agents, employees, and officials as it deems necessary or advisable to carry out any Board power, duty, or function. The Board employs administrative officers after the Chancellor recommends them to the Board. The Board also employs faculty members and other College employees.

(k)  The Board passes resolutions or orders by an affirmative, majority vote of all Trustees present in a quorum.

(l)     The Board fixes and collects rentals, rates, and charges for the occupancy, use, or availability of its property, buildings, structures, activities, operations, or facilities. The Board sets such sums, charges, and fees at its discretion.

(m)The Board acquires and holds title to real and personal property in any appropriate, lawful manner. The Board also disposes of real and personal property the College no longer needs in any appropriate, lawful manner.

(n)  The Board may retain a licensed real estate broker through contract, employment, or both to help acquire or sell real property.

(o)   The Board may communicate with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to ensure that the Board’s positions are clear and unequivocal.

(p)  The Board sets admissions standards consistent with the College’s role and mission while considering nationwide standards and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

I.D.1.06. Taxing Authority

The Board relies on county appraisal districts to appraise taxable property within the College’s taxing district, and the Board relies on county tax assessor-collectors to assess and collect ad valorem taxes the Board imposes on taxable property within the College’s taxing district. Tax assessor-collectors receive agreed compensation capped at actual costs incurred. Tax assessor-collectors and staff assessing and collecting ad valorem taxes for the College must comply with the Property Taxation Professional Certification Act.

For county appraisal districts which appraise taxable property in the College’s taxing district, the College may not enter into a contract with a member of the appraisal district’s board of directors, with a member of the appraisal district’s appraisal review board, or with a business entity in which a member of the appraisal district’s board of directors or appraisal review board has a substantial interest. In Section I.D only, an individual has a substantial interest in a business entity if (1) the combined ownership of the individual and the individual’s spouse is at least ten percent of the voting stock or shares in the business entity; or (2) the individual or the individual’s spouse, is a partner, limited partner, or officer in the business entity. In this subsection, business entity means a sole proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, holding company, joint-stock company, receivership, trust, or other entity recognized by law.

I.D.1.07. Individual Trustee Authority

Individual Trustees have no authority over the College, its property, or its employees. Each Trustee, in his or her official capacity as a public officer entrusted with governing and overseeing the College’s management, has an inherent right of access to College records without specific Board authorization, under Board policies for orderly access.

An individual Trustee may act for the Board only with the Board’s official authorization. Without such express authorization, no Trustee may commit the Board on any issue. If a citizen brings a complaint to an individual Trustee, he or she shall refer the complainant to the Chancellor or designee, who shall proceed under appropriate Board Policies and Chancellor’s Procedures.

I.D.1.08. Leadership Responsibilities

The Board sets a positive tone for the entire College. The Board strives to create a positive, future-oriented climate of integrity, innovation, and excellence and works to build positive relationships with stakeholders. The Board understands and adheres to its roles and responsibilities under Board policies and applicable laws. Trustees treat one another with respect and work as a team to accomplish the Board’s work. Trustees prepare for Board meetings, avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest, and vote on behalf of the entire community. The Board accommodates different opinions when debating issues and bases decisions on all available situational facts. The Board considers its actions’ political ramifications and stands up for what it believes is right for students and the community.

I.D.1.09. Represent the Common Good

The Board represents a balance between the College and the public. The Board balances and integrates the community’s interests and needs into policies benefitting the common good and the College’s future. Trustees learn as much as they can about communities they serve by being aware of community issues and by studying demographic, economic, and social trends. Because the Board protects the public interest and represents the community’s voice, Trustees understand what benefits the College confers on the community, know about community and regional needs and expectations, purposefully involve community discussion on issues that impact the community, and maintain good relationships with other community leaders. The Board encourages active cooperation with citizens, organizations, and the media and assists the Chancellor to develop appropriate educational partnerships with community agencies, businesses, and local government.

I.D.1.10. Set Policy Direction

The Board adopts policies to direct and guide the College’s Chancellor and other officers. Board policies define and uphold a vision and mission reflecting student and community expectations. Trustees think strategically, concentrate on priority items, and focus on the community’s future learning needs. Trustees engage in creative, thoughtful discussions as they plan for the future and envision what they want for the College and community. Policies set standards for quality, ethics, and prudence in College operations.

Except where prohibited by law, the Board’s policy-making process is public and transparent. The Board, through the Chancellor, seeks input from faculty, staff, students, and the public in developing new policies or amendments to existing policies. The Chancellor, a college president, a Trustee, faculty, employees, or citizens may initiate policy amendments, but the Chancellor typically recommends policy amendments to the Board.

The College’s official Board Policy Manual resides electronically on the Office of the General Counsel’s public website. The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for the Board Policy Manual’s accuracy and currency.

No Board Policy or Chancellor’s Procedure remains operative if it conflicts with applicable state or federal law as determined by the Office of the General Counsel, the Chancellor, or the Board of Trustees.

I.D.1.11. Employ, Evaluate, and Support the Chancellor

The Board appoints the College’s Chancellor for a term of not more than three years. The Chancellor has an employment contract with the College through the Board. Names of applicants for Chancellor are not public information, but the Board must publicly disclose the finalists’ names at least 21 days before selecting a Chancellor.

The Chancellor is the College’s Chief Executive Officer. The Chancellor implements the Board’s policies and directives. The Chancellor oversees College operations. The Chancellor is the spokesperson for the College’s administration with the Board. The Chancellor recommends faculty and personnel employment contracts to the Board. The Chancellor or a designee compiles reports for the Board, the Texas Legislature, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Legislative Budget Board, and the Governor’s Office of Budget and Planning.

Successful governance requires a good relationship between the Board and the Chancellor. The Chancellor is the most influential person in establishing the College as the country’s premier community college system. Therefore, selecting, evaluating, and supporting the Chancellor are among the Board’s most important tasks. The Chancellor and Board function best as a partnership. The Chancellor implements Board Policy through the Chancellor’s Procedures, while the Board depends on the Chancellor for guidance and educational leadership. This relationship works best with clear, mutually agreed-upon expectations and role descriptions. The partnership thrives on open communication, confidence, trust, and support.

The Chancellor has limited emergency authority to act even when that action would normally be within the Board’s authority. The Chancellor’s emergency authority is limited to (1) urgent or immediate occurrences not covered by existing policies; (2) situations in which the College must initiate or defend legal action to preserve the College’s legal rights; (3) actions to protect the health, safety, or welfare of students, employees, or community members from immediate peril; or (4) to protect the College’s property or financial interests. The Chancellor promptly informs the Board of any actions taken under this subsection. The Board reviews and approves these actions at its discretion.

The Board annually evaluates the Chancellor. This evaluation is conducted during a closed session with every Trustee invited to participate. The Board’s evaluation is an overall Board assessment, not a collection of individual Trustees’ assessments. The Board clarifies the Chancellor’s role to the Chancellor during the evaluation. The Chair also clarifies to Trustees the Chancellor’s role according to the College’s written criteria, the Chancellor’s job description, and the College’s current goals and objectives. The evaluation aims to develop and sustain harmony between the Board and the Chancellor.

The Chancellor’s written employment contract states the Chancellor’s employment terms and salary. The Board Chair signs the Chancellor’s employment contract. The Chancellor’s employment contract is annually reviewed while developing the College’s budget. It may be reviewed or extended at the same time as other College contractual employees or at any other time.

1.      Property Interest. An employment contract executed with the College creates a property interest in the position only for the period of time stated in the contract. An employment contract creates no property interest of any kind beyond the period of time stated in the contract.

2.      Non-renewal. The Board may decide by vote or by its inaction to refuse the Chancellor further employment with the College beyond the term of the current employment contract for any reason or no reason at all.

3.      Resignation. The Chancellor may resign at any time.

4.      Dismissal. The Board may dismiss the Chancellor for good cause before the Chancellor’s current employment contract expires. The Board will give the Chancellor reasonable written notice regarding the proposed action and grounds. The Board will set out in sufficient detail its reasons to allow the Chancellor an opportunity to rebut the Board’s rationale.

5.      Hearing. Within five working days after receipt of the dismissal notice, the Chancellor may request the Board provide the Chancellor with a hearing. The Board may take action to suspend the Chancellor, with pay, pending the dismissal hearing’s outcome. After the Board suspends the Chancellor, the Board may appoint an acting Chancellor. The hearing shall be set on a date that affords the Chancellor reasonable time to prepare an adequate defense. The Board may conduct the hearing in open session or closed session unless the Chancellor requests a public hearing. If the Chancellor does not request a hearing, the Board shall take action to terminate the Chancellor’s employment with the College.

The Chancellor may be represented by counsel at the hearing before the Board. The Chancellor has the right to hear the evidence on which the charges are based, to cross-examine all adverse witnesses, and to present evidence to support the Chancellor’s challenge to the dismissal. Such determination shall be based on the evidence presented in the hearing.

The Board shall render its decision to proceed with the Chancellor’s contract termination, or to reverse the proposed dismissal action, in writing. The Board will inform the Chancellor of its final decision within 15 working days of the hearing. The Board’s decision on dismissal of the Chancellor shall be final.

I.D.1.12. Monitor Performance

The Board holds the Chancellor responsible for the College’s mission, educational programs’ effectiveness, student success, the College’s community influence, the College’s accreditation process, state and federal accountability requirements and reports, and implementing all Board policies. The Board adopts the College’s broad goals as policy, then monitors progress made toward those goals through periodic reports or other methods. The Board also monitors adherence to policies for programs, personnel, and fiscal and asset management. The Board receives periodic reports from college officers and reviews reports by or for external agencies, such as reports for accreditation, audit, and state and federal accountability. All monitoring processes culminate in the Board evaluating the Chancellor as the College’s leader. The Board defines evaluation criteria well before reports are required so the Chancellor and staff clearly understand what is expected.

The Board seeks to understand the College’s educational programs and services and closely monitors the College’s fiscal condition. The Board establishes parameters for the College’s budget planning, including long-range fiscal planning, and the Board understands the budget document and reconciles budget priorities with the College’s mission, values, and goals. Board policies guide facilities maintenance and appearance protocols, safety and security protocols, and asset investment and management. The Board insists that fiscal management practices meet audit standards.

The Board has a crucial public responsibility to watch over College funds. To continually preserve the College’s financial integrity, the Board pledges to vigilantly supervise College funds, including each Trustee’s reasonable use of funds for College matters. No intrusion upon this commitment will be tolerated.

I.D.1.13. Advocates for the College

Trustees advocate for and protect the College. They promote the College in the community and seek support for the College from local, state, and national policymakers. They protect the College’s ability to fulfill its mission and promise to its communities. Trustees (1) know the College’s history, mission, and values; (2) recognize the College’s accomplishments; (3) actively support the College’s mission and values; (4) speak positively about the College in the community; (5) play leadership roles in the local community; (6) participate in community activities as College representatives; (7) educate the community about the College’s needs and issues; (8) know relevant state laws and regulations; (9) know state and national educational policy issues; (10) advocate for College interests to state and national personnel and legislators; (11) actively seek political and civic support for the College; (12) work to secure adequate public funding; (13) actively support the College’s foundation and fundraising efforts; (14) understand and protect the faculty’s and administrative academic freedom; and (15) support community college trustee associations.

I.D.1.14. Board Goals & Evaluations

The Board self-evaluates annually. The Board’s self-evaluations provide useful information on its performance and guide the Board’s goals for the next year. The self-evaluation metrics are completely the Board’s prerogative.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on December 1, 2016