WHAT IS A SCHOOL BOARD?
A school board is a legislative body of citizens called school directors, who are elected locally by their fellow citizens and who serve as agents of the state Legislature. Each board consists of nine members who serve four-year terms of office, without pay.
School directors, although locally elected, are really state officials, co-partners with the Legislature. They are designated by school law to administer the school system in each district.
WHY ARE SCHOOL BOARDS NECESSARY?
Local school boards keep the public schools in the possession of the public rather than a central government, professional educators and private corporations. Our school began as local institutions, and school boards keep them that way.
School boards are a check on the proprietary interests of professionals. Thus, they carry out the American precept of checks and balances.
School boards afford a means for bringing together varying points of view when formulating school policy.
School boards make possible, but do not guarantee, the direct exercise of the people's will in regard to public education. School boards are expected to use the information at their disposal to make decisions in the best interest of the community.
Because school boards are trustees of our heritage, the position of school director has gained recognition as a community's highest honor. The purpose of education is to help people adjust to, perpetuate and improve their lives.
WHAT ARE THE CHIEF RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SCHOOL BOARD?
- Through the staff, to develop and constantly improve the educational program.
- To provide adequate and effective personnel for school programs.
- To provide and maintain educationally efficient school facilities.
- To secure adequate financial resources.
- To maintain two-way communication between the board and students, employees, parents, taxpayers and the community.
- To select the chief executive officer, and to work harmoniously and honestly with that person.
SOME REQUIRED DUTIES:
- Adopt courses of study in consultation with the superintendent.
- Establish the length of the school term.
- Adopt textbooks.
- Elect Superintendents and hire necessary employees.
- Enter in written contracts with professional employees and into collective bargaining agreements.
- Adopt the annual budget.
- Levy taxes; appoint a tax collector under certain circumstances.
- Provide necessary grounds and school buildings.
- Prescribe, adopt and enforce reasonable rules and regulations regarding school activities, publications and organizations.
- Provide special education for mentally or physically handicapped children.
SOME PERMISSIVE FUNCTIONS:
- Elect and appoint assistant superintendents.
- Appoint a solicitor and other board employees.
- Purchase, receive or condemn land for school purposes as determined by the board.
- Sell unneeded lands and buildings.
- Create or increase indebtedness within certain limitations.
- Authorize attendance of board members of the superintendent or other employees at educational meetings, and pay necessary expenses.
- Enter into group insurance contracts. Provide for: insurance on school buildings and property; person liability insurance for school employees against injury to pupils; accident insurance for pupils against injury in participation, or transportation to, athletic events.
Serving as a school board member is one of the most important responsibilities a citizen can undertake. Board members will establish educational standards to shape the future of their community and society.
Being a board member is a complex and varied job, often frustrating as they struggle long hours with problems that never seem to be resolved. But it also is rewarding, as they watch students achieve success and lead happy, productive lives as a result of an environment they help to improve.
School board members are charged, by law, with providing quality education for the youth of their community. They work for the best interests of all pupils and all citizens, a task requiring constant effort and a strong commitment to serving other people.