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Site-Based Decision Making Committees


District, campus site-based committees

Site-based decision making implementation has been mandated for all Texas school districts since 1992. TEA defines site-based decision making as follows: Site-based decision making is a process for decentralizing decisions to improve the educational outcomes at every school campus through a collaborative effort by which principals, teachers, campus staff, district staff, parents, and community representatives assess educational outcomes of all students, determine goals and strategies, and ensure that strategies are implemented and adjusted to improve student achievement.

District, campus site-based committees

District and campus site-based decision making committees were designed to ensure that teachers, parents and other community members have an active voice in local education matters. The committees may develop an appraisal process and performance criteria for district teachers, and must be consulted if the district adopts a local process and criteria for appraisal instead of using the process recommended by the Texas Commissioner of Education. In addition, a district seeking a waiver from rule or law must submit to the commissioner an application and written comments from either the campus- or district-level committee. The superintendent must regularly consult with the district-level committee, and the principal must regularly consult with the campus-level committee.

At least every two years, the school district must evaluate its district- and campus-level site-based planning policies, procedures, staff development and decision-making activities to ensure that they are effectively structured to positively impact student performance. If a campus is low-performing, the commissioner can order the preparation of a report regarding the effectiveness of the district- and campus-level planning and decision making committees and a plan describing strategies for improving the effectiveness of those committees.

Committee Structure

General guidelines regarding the structure and composition of the campus- and district-level decision making committees are found in Section 11.251 of the Texas Education Code. The statute requires the involvement of several classes of people:

  • district professional staff,

  • parents of students enrolled in the district,

  • community members, and

  • representatives from the business community with no consideration for whether the person or the business resides in the district.

The statute prohibits members from sitting in dual roles on the committees; for example, a person cannot sit as both a parent and a community member nor can a person who is an employee of the district sit on the committee as a parent representative.

The statute does not delineate a specific limitation on the size of the committee. However, it does provide several prerequisites for the local school board to address in its policies regarding the decision making committees.

First, the school board is required to adopt procedures that specify the method by which professional staff may be nominated and elected by their colleagues to serve on the SBDM committee and to meet with the school board in that capacity. The statute requires that two-thirds of the professional staff representatives be classroom teachers. Board policy must also provide the procedures for the selection of parents to both committees as well as the selection of community members and business representatives to serve on the district-level committee.

District-Level Committees 

District-level SBDM committees assist the superintendent in developing, evaluating and annually revising the district's improvement plan, in accordance with district policy. The plan must include provisions for a comprehensive needs assessment addressing student performance, measurable district performance objectives and strategies for improving student performance. These committees also advise the district in the adoption of a student code of conduct, which must specify the conditions that authorize or require an administrator to transfer a student to a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP).

Campus-Level Committees

Campus-level SBDM committees assist the principal of each campus in developing, reviewing and revising the campus improvement plan. The committee is to be involved in decisions in the areas of planning, budgeting, curriculum, staffing patterns and school organization. Staff development must be primarily campus-based and developed and approved by the campus-level committees. Districtwide staff development may be used only if it is developed and approved through the district-level SBDM process.

Texas Education Code -Section 11.253. Campus Planning and Site-Based Decision-Making 

11.253. Campus Planning and Site-Based Decision-Making

(a) Each school district shall maintain current policies and procedures to ensure that effective planning and site-based decision-making occur at each campus to direct and support the improvement of student performance for all students.

(b) Each district's policy and procedures shall establish campus-level planning and decision-making committees as provided for through the procedures provided by Sections 11.251(b)-(e).

(c) Each school year, the principal of each school campus, with the assistance of the campus-level committee, shall develop, review, and revise the campus improvement plan for the purpose of improving student performance for all student populations, including students in special education programs under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, with respect to the academic excellence indicators adopted under Section 39.051 and any other appropriate performance measures for special needs populations.

(d) Each campus improvement plan must:

(1) assess the academic achievement for each student in the school using the academic excellence indicator system as described by Section 39.051;

(2) set the campus performance objectives based on the academic excellence indicator system, including objectives for special needs populations, including students in special education programs under Subchapter A, Chapter 29;

(3) identify how the campus goals will be met for each student;

(4) determine the resources needed to implement the plan;

(5) identify staff needed to implement the plan;

(6) set timelines for reaching the goals;

(7) measure progress toward the performance objectives periodically to ensure that the plan is resulting in academic improvement;

(8) include goals and methods for violence prevention and intervention on campus; and

(9) provide for a program to encourage parental involvement at the campus.

(e) In accordance with the administrative procedures established under Section 11.251(b), the campus-level committee shall be involved in decisions in the areas of planning, budgeting, curriculum, staffing patterns, staff development, and school organization. The campus-level committee must approve the portions of the campus plan addressing campus staff development needs.

(f) This section does not create a new cause of action or require collective bargaining.

(g) Each campus-level committee shall hold at least one public meeting per year. The required meeting shall be held after receipt of the annual campus rating from the agency to discuss the performance of the campus and the campus performance objectives. District policy and campus procedures must be established to ensure that systematic communications measures are in place to periodically obtain broad-based community, parent, and staff input, and to provide information to those persons regarding the recommendations of the campus-level committees.

(h) A principal shall regularly consult the campus-level committee in the planning, operation, supervision, and evaluation of the campus educational program.


A Guide for Site-Based Decision Making by ESC 8