Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Policy Resource Guide?
The Policy Resource Guide (PRG) is a web-based policy tool designed to assist Wisconsin school boards and administrators in the important tasks of policy development and implementation. It contains information on a wide variety of policy topics, including policies required by law and “hot policy” topics. The purpose of the guide is to help school districts develop local policies that meet their own community needs and interests while keeping in mind general legal considerations.
What are the key components of the PRG?
The Policy Resource Guide has been designed especially for Wisconsin school districts with their policy interests and needs in mind. The guide is a user-friendly and easily navigable tool organized according to the WASB Policy Manual Coding System, but is searchable by topic and by key words.
In addition to sample policies, many policy topics addressed in the guide include a “Background Information” resource that provides school leaders with:
- Key policy considerations related to the topic, including questions school officials can ask themselves when making local policy decisions;
- General legal considerations related to the topic, including hyperlinks to the laws and regulations referenced; and
- Hyperlinks to selected additional resources related to the topic including WASB Legal Comments, Legal Notes, FOCUS issues and other relevant educational and other agency resources.
Some policy topics in the PRG also include sample rules (i.e., procedures) and exhibits.
What makes the PRG unique?
The Policy Resource Guide offers school board members and administrators streamlined electronic access to school policy development and implementation information in one place. It has several special features that make it particularly useful to school boards and administrators:
- It provides access to school policy development information and assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not just during regular business hours.
- Subscribers to the Policy Resource Guide not only get access to sample policies but also to the background information necessary to make appropriate local policy decisions – ones that are in line with community values, needs and interests and applicable legal requirements and are realistic to implement in the district.
- Sample policies, rules and exhibits are downloadable for local customization and local policy manual maintenance and storage.
- Subscribers to the Policy Resource Guide get access to new and updated information on a regular basis.The number of topics covered in the Policy Resource Guide grows substantially every year. In selecting new topics to add (and topics to update), the WASB prioritizes topics affected by recent changes in state and federal law and topics that are of particular interest to multiple subscribers.
How is the PRG useful to school boards?
The Policy Resource Guide can be used by school boards to update their school district policy manuals in a timely and efficient manner, using the policy background information and sample policies as a guide. It can also be used by school boards in making policy decisions on individual topics under school district discussion and can be used by individual board members as a professional development tool.
How is the PRG useful to district administrators and other school administrators?
The Policy Resource Guide not only provides district administrators and other school administrators with access to relevant legal and policy information on school topics under school district discussion but it also serves as (1) a quick reference for administrators in dealing with day-to-day policy implementation issues, questions and concerns and (2) a professional development resource within the district.
How is the PRG useful to school administrative assistants?
School administrative assistants are often called upon to gather sample policy and other information for board and administration review, and are also often responsible for typing up district policies and maintaining the district’s policy manual. The Policy Resource Guide allows administrative assistants to access the policy information they need at their own convenience and on their own timelines, and to download the sample policies for easy local customization and policy manual maintenance and storage.
How much does a subscription to the PRG cost?
The initial subscription to the PRG is for three years, with the district paying the same amount for each of the three years ($4,500 each year). There is an annual renewal fee after that.
This subscription fee covers one subscription for the entire school district (see the question below regarding who has direct access). It includes access to all of the policy topic information addressed in the Policy Resource Guide at the time the initial subscription begins and any additions and changes made to it through the end of the subscription period.
A district’s paid PRG subscription also entitles the district to the following “added value” benefits:
- A subscription to WASB’s subscription policy publication, The FOCUS (which is currently valued at $230) [If your district would choose to subscribe to the PRG, you would not have to pay for your FOCUS subscription next year.]
- Free access to recorded WASB Legal Webinars (such as the access to public records webinar, administrative contracts webinar, school referenda webinar, student expulsion webinar, etc.) [There is a special WASB Webinars link in the PRG, and links to related webinars (if any) are included in the “Additional Resources” section of the policy topic Background Information in the PRG]
- Free access to special “PRG Subscriber Only” Webinars (such as the Technical Excellence Scholarship Policy Webinar) [These webinars are recorded and links to the webinars are included in the “Additional Resources” section of the policy topic Background Information in the PRG]
Who has access to the PRG in a subscribing school district?
All school board members, administrators (including building principals) and the district administrator’s administrative assistant have direct access to the Policy Resource Guide in subscribing school districts. It is the responsibility of subscribing districts to provide the WASB with the names of any administrator in the district who they would like to have direct access to the Policy Resource Guide who is not already in the WASB database. If other school officials or staff would like to obtain specific policy topic information addressed in the Policy Resource Guide related to their work in the district, they would have to ask a school board member, administrator or the district administrator’s administrative assistant to retrieve the requested information.
Does a district's purchase of a subscription to the PRG include special policy writing/consulting services?
No. The price of a Policy Resource Guide subscription does not include any special policy writing/consulting services of a WASB Consultant. Any district-specific policy writing/consulting services would be available at the regular WASB policy consulting hourly rates. This does not mean that WASB Policy Staff would not be available to provide general direction and assistance to a district on how to access and use the Policy Resource Guide in developing and updating its own district policies. General assistance of this nature would be available to subscribing districts. It is only when a district would request assistance from a WASB Consultant in the tailoring or revising of the Policy Resource Guide sample policies to fit their own local district’s needs, or in the development or review of district-specific policies, that policy writing/consulting service fees would come into play. (See the question below for specific information on how WASB can help PRG subscribers use the PRG in updating their policy manuals]
How can the WASB help subscribing districts use the PRG to efficiently update their policy manuals?
The WASB recognizes that policy development and updating work can be a time-consuming task, especially when the entire district policy manual is outdated and needs updating. To help PRG subscribers with that time-consuming task, the WASB offers the following specific assistance to districts in updating their policy manuals:
- The WASB has created the “Base Policy Package” for PRG subscribers to adapt and use as a means of updating (and maintaining into the future via updates to the Policy Package) a large number of very important policies – the policies expressly required by state and federal laws – in a relative efficient manner. For each policy mandate that WASB has identified to date, the Base Policy Package contains a sample policy (and in some cases a related rule/procedure) drawn from the samples found in the PRG. The sample policies in the package were generally selected in an attempt to: (1) reflect relatively common policy positions on the relevant policy issues, and (2) coordinate with one another.
- Districts that subscribe to the PRG and to BoardDocs™ may simply download sample PRG content directly into the BoardDocs™ policy management tool rather than downloading the PRG samples as Word documents. While BoardDocs™ provides the policy management tool, the district has total control over its online policies. If the school board passes a new policy, or updates an existing policy, district staff can make the change in BoardDocs™ that very night. For more information about BoardDocs™, including a discount for PRG subscribers, please visit our website at https://wasb.org/products-publication/boarddocs-egovernance-tools/. (Please note that a district does not have to subscribe to BoardDocs™ in order to access and use the PRG.)
- PRG subscribers may obtain a WASB Policy Manual “Quick Check” at a discounted price (currently ½ off the regular price). With a Policy Manual “Quick Check”, WASB Staff can help the district organize and prioritize its local policy work. Upon request, and after the WASB is provided with a copy of the district’s policy manual, a WASB Consultant will do a “quick check” of the district’s policies to identify the following: (1) any WASB Policy Manual Checklist policies that seem to be missing from the policy manual – this includes policies/procedures that are mandated by state and/or federal law and other recommended policies, and (2) local policies with a last revision date indicating that they may need updating due to recent law changes affecting the topic. Following a “Quick Check”, the district receives an easy-to-read report that clearly identifies (a) the mandated or suggested policy topics that are missing from the district’s policy manual; (b) the WASB Policy Manual Checklist and other policy topics contained in the district’s policy manual that are in need of review and updating based on law changes that have occurred since their adoption/revision and general guidance on what might need to be reviewed/revised in the particular policies; and (c) other general comments and suggestions that may be helpful to the board and administration in the policy manual updating process. The “Quick Check” report also directs school officials to specific content in the PRG that can be used in developing/updating district policies identified in the “Quick Check”. Learn more.
- As with other general member inquiries, if a PRG subscriber has a general question regarding a particular policy topic they are working on, they can contact a WASB Policy Consultant or WASB Staff Attorney and ask their question without charge. A PRG subscriber can also contact a member of the WASB Policy or Legal Staff to ask any question they may have about PRG content or particular sample PRG policies without charge.
- The WASB can also provide a PRG subscriber with district-specific special policy writing/consulting services, upon request, on an hourly fee basis. These services include, but are not necessarily limited to: (a) reviewing an individual district policy(ies) and providing revision suggestions; (b) reviewing a section of the district’s policy manual or multiple sections of the manual and providing specific policy updating suggestions; (c) preparing policy/rule revision drafts for the district’s review based on policy and other information obtained from the district; and (d) conducting policy work sessions with board members and administrators on specific policy topics of interest to the district (this can be done onsite in the district or via technology).
How often is the PRG updated?
Policy topic additions and updates are made to the Policy Resource Guide on an ongoing basis throughout the subscription year. Subscribing districts are informed of those additions and updates as they are posted online. When there is a change in state law or other issues come up that require district policy action, it has been our priority to update the Policy Resource Guide policy topic background information sheets and sample policies related to such topics as soon as reasonably possible so that PRG subscribers can utilize that information right away in creating or updating their own district policies on the subject. Additions and changes related to sample policies, rules and exhibits are highlighted in the Additions and Updates Charts located in the online PRG.