What Are the REAL Responsibilities of a School Board?

School Board Responsibilities

School systems are complex and require many types of leadership to function properly. One of the primary sources of guidance and leadership in a school system is the school board. Along with the superintendent, the school board works to make sure the school has all of the resources it needs to serve its students effectively. Let’s go over the REAL list of school board responsibilities.

school board responsibilities

What Is the School Board’s Purpose?

Because school systems are so complicated, they can be a challenge to govern. Put simply, the school board exists to oversee the activities of the school system so students can have the best possible experience and outcome. The school board also exists to establish important policies and make sure they are implemented properly.

School Board Responsibilities

Maintain governance standards.

One of the school board’s primary responsibilities involves establishing the rules and policies that will be used to govern the school. This could be anything from adjusting dismissal time, to addressing ethical issues in administration. Your school board will need to rely on legal professionals and human resources experts on occasion to be sure all bases are covered.

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Manage the superintendent.

The school board is responsible for giving the superintendent his or her powers and ensuring that he or she upholds all the responsibilities that come with the position. Similarly to other nonprofits, this includes hiring and evaluating the person who will oversee many daily activities at the school.

Encourage ongoing education.

The school board should also participate in educational conferences and workshops as appropriate. It should encourage members of the school system’s staff to participate in ongoing education as well.

Review policies.

The school board should review established policies on a regular basis to determine whether changes are necessary. Policy reviews should incorporate relevant data whenever possible to ensure objectivity. 

Evaluate policy implementation.

It is up to the school board to make sure that all policies are followed and that the schools’ actions reflect the intent of the board. This may include using outside consultants to evaluate policy compliance. Sometimes it is hard to accomplish this effectively entirely internally.

Review budgeting and finance.

The school board is responsible for guiding the school or district’s budget, approving bills, and establishing spending priorities. The board is also responsible for deciding when to ask voters to pass levies that benefit the school. Budgeting is one of the most challenging responsibilities of a school board, and requires the ability to listen to the priorities and needs of staff, the community, and the student body.

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Evaluate instruction and education.

Another of the school board’s most important functions is related to instruction. The school board is responsible for developing instructional philosophies and goals, as well as developing instructional plans. The board must also review student achievement data on a regular basis to evaluate the school’s effectiveness and make changes as needed. Of course, school board members are not expected to be educational experts individually, but an ability to review research and consult knowledgeable people is crucial.

Not an Easy Job

These are just a few of the specific responsibilities of the average school board. In order to be as effective as possible, it is important for every member of the board to understand these responsibilities and take them seriously. In addition, voters electing members of the school board should also be aware of the board’s responsibilities so they can select the best possible candidates for the job.

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