Addressing School-Based Concerns: District Offers Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


The Rhinebeck Central School District has Board Policies 1400, 1410, 1420 and 1440 in place to address general concerns raised by members of the public (Policy No. 1400), concerns about policies (Policy No. 1410), concerns about curricula or instructional materials (Policy No. 1420), and concerns about school personnel (Policy No. 1440).

 

These policies can be found on the District website athttp://rhinebeckcsd.org/policies.cfm?sid=254.

 

To assist the public in relaying their concerns to the appropriate personnel and/or department, as well as to promote efficient, effective, respectful, and meaningful communication with stakeholders, the District has prepared this guide in the form of “Frequently Asked Questions.” If you, or people you know, have concerns to express, please take the time to review these FAQs to aid in resolving concern as quickly and effectively as possible.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. I have a concern I want the District to know about.  What should I do?

 

A.   In general, the concern should be brought to the person or department where the issue has arisen.

 

• If your concern involves a Board of Education policy, it should be addressed to the Superintendent of Schools.

 

• If your concern is about something related to a particular class, including the material being taught, you should speak directly with the classroom teacher. If that doesn’t satisfy your concern, please speak to the Principal in the appropriate school building, and then to the Superintendent, if the concern hasn’t been resolved appropriately.

 

• If your concern involves a specific employee of the District, such as a teacher, aide, coach, maintenance staff, or administrator, raise your concern directly with that person. If you don’t feel your concern has been appropriately addressed, the concern should be brought to that person’s supervisor. If you are unsure of who the person’s supervisor is, please call the District Office at 871-5520 and ask. If you are still unsatisfied, bring your concern to the Building Principal and then to the Superintendent.

 

Q. Can’t I just bring my concern to a Board of Education member? I know one personally.

 

A.   You are always welcome to share concerns with members of the school board. However, in order to address your concern in the quickest and most effective way possible, we recommend following the steps outlined above, as your school board member would only be acting to relay information to the appropriate supervisor.

 

Q. How should I communicate my concern to the district?

 

A.  You should feel free to communicate in the manner most comfortable for you. The District recommends two methods of addressing your concerns. Either send your concern in writing (hard copy or e-mail) to the appropriate person as outlined above, or schedule an appointment to meet or speak directly with that person. If you schedule an in-person appointment, we recommend, though it is not required, that you write up and provide your concerns in advance of the meeting so that your issue can be properly addressed and District personnel are prepared for your meeting.

 

Q. Can I raise my concern with the Board of Education during a public meeting?

 

A. The Board welcomes members of the public at meetings, and there are two opportunities for public

     comment on every Board meeting agenda.

 

     As long as your concern does not involve specific employees or students, feel free to raise it during the

     public comment period of the Board meeting. Please understand that unless the details of your concern

     have been provided in advance of the Board meeting to the Superintendent or the School Board President, it

     is unlikely that the District will be able to satisfy your concern at the meeting. The District will have to

     research the issue and take the appropriate action(s).

 

     If your concern involves a specific employee or student, the Board is unable to entertain comments

     about it during a public meeting. In that case, please provide information to the Superintendent and/or the

     President of the School Board in advance of the meeting, preferably in writing, so that the issue can be

     addressed and/or taken up in executive session. This is to protect the individual’s privacy rights.

 

Q.  Something happened last year that I was concerned about, and I just heard through the grapevine that it happened again to somebody else. Should I let the District know about           what happened last year?

 

A.   The District encourages all members of the public who have concerns to bring them to the District’s attention as soon as possible after those concerns arise. While it is never “too late” to raise a concern, and while the District is always interested to hear your concerns, it may be difficult or impossible to take effective action if you wait a long time to let the District know about it. The sooner the District learns about the concern, the more likely it is that a satisfactory resolution to the concern can result.

 

Q. If I raise a concern, will somebody let me know what the District is doing about it?

 

A.   Some concerns may raise privacy issues or may require confidential treatment as a matter of law. In these cases, the District will not be able to give you specific information regarding the action being taken.

 

      If your concern does not raise privacy issues or require confidential treatment, the District will

      communicate the steps being taken to address your concern.

 

Q.  I have a concern I want to raise, but I don’t want the staff member to know I raised it.  Can I report my concern confidentially?

 

A.   Yes. The District takes such requests very seriously and will make every effort to honor the confidentiality of the person reporting the concern, and/or of the child about whom the concern is being reported, in most cases, if requested. However, please understand that, in some situations, confidentiality could hinder the District’s ability to take effective action. If this is the case, the District may ask you to waive your request for confidentiality to better address the concern.  In addition, depending on the nature of the concern, certain laws and regulations may require the District to report alleged conduct and may actually prohibit the District from keeping such information confidential.

 

Q. I’m worried that if the staff member knows I reported this concern, my child will be retaliated

     against.

 

A.   The District absolutely forbids any member of its staff from retaliating against any person for reporting a concern.  Any attempt by a staff member to retaliate against a person who reports a concern, or the child of such a person, could form the basis for disciplinary action against the staff member. If you report a concern and then believe that you or your child has been retaliated against, the District urges you to report that immediately to the staff member’s immediate supervisor.

 

Q.  I have a concern about the driver of the bus my child takes to school. How do I raise that concern?

 

A.   The District hires an outside provider for bus services. The bus drivers are employees of the provider, not the District. However, it is very important to the District that concerns regarding drivers be dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner.

 

     If you have a concern with a bus driver, the District recommends that you address your concern with the

     driver first. If you are unsatisfied with the response from the driver, you should raise your concern with the

     Durham Bus Terminal Manager at 845-471-4286. If you are still not satisfied, please contact your Building

     Principal, then the District’s Business Administrator at 871-5500 x-5523, then   the Superintendent at 871-

     5500 x-5522, and finally the Board of Education.

 

Q. My concern involves a matter of public interest, not a specific individual. I think this is

     something the Board of Education should decide.  How should I bring it up so it goes to the       

     Board?

 

A. The District recommends raising concerns regarding matters of public interest with the            

     Superintendent, who will raise it with the Board.  When that happens, you will receive a written

     response to your concern.

 

Q. I still have questions about reporting concerns.  What should I do?

 

A.   Call the District Office at (845) 871-5520.  A member of the District Office staff will be happy to help you.

 

     Rhinebeck Central School District Board Policies that address general concerns raised by members of the

     public (Policy No. 1400), concerns about policies (Policy No. 1410), concerns about curricula or

     instructional materials (Policy No. 1420), and concerns about school personnel (Policy No. 1440) are

     available on the District website

 

     Contact information for members of the District’s teaching and administrative staff can be found on the

     District website 

 

     Contact information for Board of Education members also can be found on the District website 







DISTRICT CONTACT

845.871.5520 - District
845.871.5520 ext. 5527 - Transportation
845.871.5570 ext. 5560 - Registration
845.871.5570 ext. 5551 - Special Education
845.871.5570 ext. 5560 - Curriculum & Instruction

SCHOOL CONTACT

845.871.5570 - Chancellor Livingston Elementary
845.871.5500 - Bulkeley Middle School
845.871.5500 - Rhinebeck High School