Policy Council is a governing board made up of current and past parents/guardians of Head Start and ECEAP (Early Childhood Education Assistance Program) children. Parent representatives and alternates are elected by parents at the center where their child attends. Community representatives (past policy council members who no longer have a child enrolled and have not served three years) are elected by Policy Council members. At least 51% of membership must be current parents/guardians. The term of office is one year and the maximum number of years anyone can serve on any Policy Council is three years.
Policy Council is unique to Head Start because it is a board of parents and community representatives who make the type of decisions normally reserved for the legal board of directors.
Below are examples of items Policy Council members review and approve:
· personnel policies and other program policies
· grant applications
· service areas
· the hiring and termination of Head Start funded employees
· the annual budget and revisions to the budget
Decisions made by Policy Council are forwarded to the Board of Directors for their action. A process is in place to resolve differences in decisions.
The Policy Council usually meets once a month, usually on the first Thursday. Since members of the Policy Council live in Grays Harbor, Mason and Thurston counties, most meetings are held using a video conference system in three locations.
Policy Council members are encouraged to be active volunteers in their centers, to be the liaison between the center and the Policy Council, and to serve on a variety of program planning committees. They assist with self-assessment and conduct an annual parent satisfaction survey. Their officers meet monthly with the Assistant Superintendent to plan the agenda for the regular meeting.