Austin Free Skool Bylaws
0. What is this?
This repository holds the bylaws for Austin Free Skool, a non-profit organization which promotes educational events by and for the Austin community. As of now we are completing the paperwork for the State of Texas and these bylaws are tailored to those laws.
In the interest not only of transparency and archival, but also of encouraging anyone to participate in shaping our organization (or to simply spot problems!) we are putting our bylaws on a public git repository. We hope these bylaws are of use or interest!
- Members set membership policy;
- Meetings require at least 50% of members to be present;
- You can Skype in if necessary;
- There are three officers who are also on the board of directors:
- Chair - runs the meetings, speaks on behalf of the organization, gets sued;
- Secretary - takes minutes, manages archives and documents;
- Treasurer - keeps the books, manages money, deals with tax stuff;
- Only the members can set organization policy or amend the bylaws;
- Members can remove officers from their positions;
- Members can remove members who are detrimental to Free Skool;
- Decisions at membership meetings require a majority, except termination and suspension votes which require a supermajority;
- Directors serve 6 month terms;
- Directors must make 50% of the Board meetings during their terms;
- Nobody gets paid anything, ever, for any reason. Unless it's a reimbursement;
- Directors can only be one Director, not multiple;
Basically we want to be as legally flat as we can be.
3. Aren't bylaws and hierarchy antithetical to anarchist free skools?
Bylaws no, hierarchy yes. If you read carefully, these bylaws delineate very specific and limited responsibilities to the board of directors, who are also simply officers in the organization. Having three positions of limited responsibility for legal and pragmatic reasons does not violate our definition of flat organization.
As a cooperatively run organization we believe in voluntary associations free of coercion and oppression. Pragmatically, the state of Texas requires some kind of managing body and the IRS requires a board of directors for 501(c)(3) status.
Thus, given that we need these positions and rules in the first place, we have set out to de-claw the authority normally given to a board of directors. They are essentially the meeting chair, the minutes taker, and the holder of the Golden Shoebox containing our capital.
4. Why be a tax-exempt non-profit? Why not just ... do your thing?
We want to be able to accept donations, seek grants, and manage our collective property responsibly. Even without state coercion we would be uncomfortable working to appropriate resources for teachers and educational events without agreeing on some ground rules to ensure future solvency.
If Free Skool isn't able to protect itself from fraud or incompetence then it will not be able to exist to serve its purpose. These bylaws would exist in some form or fashion regardless of statute toward that end.