Cottage Co-Op School Governance

Parent Governing Board

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Parent Governing Board of Cottage Co-op Nursery School is governed by a volunteer set of parents that make up Parenting Board of directors who oversee the director and help run the school. The board includes the Director and is made up of current and former parents, and may include other community members with a vested interest in Cottage Co-Op. With the exception of the serving director, all members of the board are volunteers and elected into those positions. Most positions are elected each year, but the board members serve on the board for more than one term in the same or different roles. To provide more stability structure, some positions on the board (Alumni Rep) are elected for multiple year terms. Current Cottage parents can fulfill their participation obligation (Pod Job) by serving as a Board member. This is a challenging and rewarding way to help the school.

With the exception of the director, all board members must:

  • Volunteer

  • Sign a non disclosure document not to share any employee or families information

  • Sign a conflict of interest form

  • Sign a commitment form to make decisions that ensure the Co-Ops prosperity by collectively directing the company's affairs, whilst meeting the appropriate interests of its members (Families).


The Parent Governing Board of Cottage Co-op Nursery School is responsible for governance and policy setting with responsibilities loosely defined as:

  • Determine, review and approving the strategic plan

  • Overseeing operations

  • Provide support to the Director and teachers

  • Develop, propose and approving the annual budget

  • Approving major contracts, grants, and affiliations

  • Reviewing program evaluations

  • Serving as a public figure for the school

  • Fundraising

  • Admissions

  • Advocating for the school

  • Determine the Co-Op’s vision and mission to guide and set the pace for its current operations and future development.

  • Assist in the development and approve company policies

  • Providing direct oversight and reviews for the Director

  • Determining programs and services

  • Determine and review the Co-Op’s goals

  • Hold periodic public meetings (typically monthly)

The Board does not manage the employees (that's the director's job), but rather helps run the school by organizing and overseeing the projects that keep our school running smoothly.

Board Memebers Term

Board members serve a 14-month term. During the first two months, the newly elected Board members serve in a non-voting (ex officio) role, overlapping the previous Board. Each Board member will have a 12-month voting term from July 1st to June 30th.

Board Structure

The foundation of the board is each of the pod leaders. These pods leaders facilitate each of the responsibilities of their pods, making sure that our school can run every day. These include jobs like sending the newsletter, updating the website, deep cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, running fix-it weekends and helping hold our school and public events. Each of the pod descriptions are below, if you have special skills you would like to offer Cottage, please let the VP know.

Pod leaders make up the majority of board members. Additional members of the board include the name individuals on official documents and include the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.


Board Member Role Descriptions


The president’s primary goal is to be the face and leader of the school. They represent the school at internal and external (public) functions, is the primary liaison with governments and the community. Their primary job function is to facilitate the smooth running of board meetings and chairs several committees focusing the school’s direction. The president does not propose, second and only votes on motions in the rare cases there is a tie.

They are named on all legal and tax documents.


The informal leader of the Pod Captains and primary recruiter for board members. In that job, they track fulfillment of parent obligations and are the primary point person for enforcement of policies & procedures. They fill in for President when absent, and would become temporary president if there was a resignation.


Committee chair for the financial committee and overseer of the financial transactions and the “books” for the school. Typically the key executive on the organization’s bank accounts, and prepares and presents the annual budget.

They are named on all legal and tax documents.


Primary responsibility is to record and maintain minutes for all Board & General Membership meetings. In addition, the secretary maintains the member records of Cottage members (current & alumni), and chairs the Membership Committee. They are responsible for logistics of Board & General Membership meetings, including location, invites, attendance and recording quorum.

They are named on all legal and tax documents.

Pod Captain Role Descriptions

All Pod Captains are traditionally voting board members



Provides a historical perspective and strong grounding of the board year over year. Typically a 2 year term. Works with Director for Alumni communications / development.


Conducts info nights, tours, and handles all communications with prospective families. They also prepare and send admissions letters.


Oversees all fundraising activities, including apple sale, annual fund and mini-fundraisers. Also oversees alumni outreach and relations.


Handles the planning of the parent ed. series (as part of development sphere), plan and coordinates of parent ed. events, and (in collaboration with the vice president) tracks parent ed. hours/obligations.


Plans Parent Teacher work schedules, snack menus, play dates and Kinder Summit. Helps facilitate some fundraisers and potlucks.


Coordinates inventories, cleaning, and maintenance of our internal spaces.


Handles the organization and running of all internal and external Cottage events.


Handles all internal and external communications including website, blog, graphics, yearbook, and marketing.


Leads the charge on maintaining and improving the school facility.


Example Committees

In addition to each role, many board members are parts of smaller groups of people that facilitate specific things getting done around the school. Below are examples of committees that may exist, but can change year to year, depending on the needs of the school:


  • Chair: President

  • Membership: Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Director

The role of the Cottage Co-Op Steering Committee facilitates decision making in between Board meetings, set agenda for the general board meeting, discuss and handle serious membership issues and/or will meet in the case of a crisis or other urgent circumstances. Specific members of the Steering Committee also liaise with relevant Cottage Co-Op committees and/or elected officers as appropriate.

In times of urgent need, this committee may enter into financial agreements up to $10,000 with contractors and other 3rd party groups to facilitate the safety and/or operations of the school. All of these actions will be brought to the board at the first available opportunity. The Steering Committee may not: amend bylaws, elect or remove Board members, hire or fire the Director, approve a change to the budget or make major structural decisions (such as adding or eliminating programs).


  • Chair: Secretary

  • Membership: Members of the community and board as appointed by the chair

The role of the Cottage Co-Op Membership Committee is to generate, review and propose changes to the board and community membership requirements. In addition, all individual family/member concerns or missed obligations are brought to the Membership Committee. While the Membership Committee may grant reasonable accommodations to an individual family based on circumstances, it may not change any membership requirements, tuition requirements or financial aid grants, by-laws, approve a change to the budget or make major structural decisions (such as adding or eliminating programs). Any meetings board reports and/or documents that discuss individual families or members are confidential and will not be discussed in open meetings. Any and all proposals to membership requirements will be discussed and voted on as part of general board business.


  • Chair: Vice President

  • Membership: Members of the community and board as appointed by the chair

The role of the Cottage Co-Op Personnel Committee is to meet with any employee of Cottage Co-Op to provide direct and confidential communication to the board. In addition, members may participate in any employee review and/or exit interview, and when required may participate in the interviewing of new teachers and lead a search for a new director. Meetings, Board Reports and/or documents are confidential and will not be discussed in open meetings. The Personnel Committee may not hire or fire the Director or any teacher.


  • Chair: Treasurer

  • Membership: Director, other members at large and/or contractors (Bookkeeper) as needed as appointed by the chair

The role of the Cottage Co-Op Finance Committee is to review and award tuition assistance, discuss and propose new fiscal budgets and when appropriate evaluate and make determinations around financial membership issues, including any and all tuition or fees to be refunded when a family exits the school. Most meetings, board reports and/or documents are confidential and will not be discussed in open meetings. They will provide public monthly reports including balance sheet, YTD Budget, aggregate overdue fees and tuition and will present to the board the annual budget proposal. The Finance Committee may not grant any family financial assistance not budgeted for and/or that exceeds 50% of tuition costs.



Tuition/Fundraising Collection Policy

To ensure a financially secure school, it is necessary that tuition payments be made and fundraising obligations be met promptly. It is the responsibility of each parent to meet this commitment to the school. The following is the tuition and fundraising collection policy adopted by the Board of Trustees.

  • 1st of the month in which payment is due:

    • Tuition payments and fundraising is current, unless other arrangements have been made.

  • 11th of the month in which payment is due:

    • Current month’s payments are delinquent. A late charge of $25 is added to each (tuition and fundraising) delinquent payment. This charge will be added each week payment is delinquent.

  • 20th of the second month:

    • Deadline for paying delinquent payments. If all delinquent payments have not been paid by

      this date, the family will be asked not to return, and the student’s space may be filled by

      another child. If payments are not forthcoming, the school may exercise its right to refer the account for legal action.


Cottage Co-op Nursery School recognizes that the financial situation of families can change, and that it may be necessary for you to revise your payment or fundraising plan. Please, if this occurs, or you are not able to make a payment on time, contact us in one of the following ways: contact the Director or Treasurer regarding tuition payments and the development pod captain regarding fundraising payments as soon as possible to make special arrangements. Families who are not current in all financial obligations as of the end of February will not be offered a contract for the following year.


The first three weeks of class attendance are probationary. If the family or school finds it necessary to withdraw the child during this period, there will be no financial penalties incurred beyond September 1. Tuition costs will be pro-rated and a refund made. The application fee and deposit will not be refunded and are not transferable to another session, i.e. summer school. Students are considered enrolled for the entire year. If you are withdrawing your child/children from the school prior to December 31, you must submit a written notice to the Director 30 days before your child/children’s last day of school. This notice allows the school to make every attempt to find a replacement for the withdrawing child/children. However, if you are withdrawing on or after January 1, you will be held responsible for tuition for the remainder of the school year, except as noted in the contract. For those withdrawing on or after January 1, a 30-day written notice is still required. This policy is essential for the financial viability of the school, since it is unlikely that the school would be able to recruit a student for a vacancy so late in the school year.


There will be no adjustments in tuition for children who leave Cottage Co-op during the school year (including summer session) to go on vacation, regardless of the length of time spent away from the school.


Summer Camp is an optional program. Particulars about Summer Camp will be published after January 1 on our website here:

See the calendar for important application information. Deposits and fees are non-refundable for Summer School. In the event there are too few applicants or the teaching positions cannot be filled, the school reserves the right to cancel any program.

Parent Handbook