Were it not for citizens serving on local school boards such as in Glendale, what agency would determine local community goals for the education of our children?
Who would determine local priorities and bring them to life through public school policy? Who would make certain that state legislature knows about Glendale’s public education needs and make adequate resources available? Who would ensure that Washington, D.C. recognizes the needs of local schools?
Who would lobby for public education to remain a state and national priority? Lobby? Yes, it is a part of boardmanship—an important part, because it is incumbent on school board members to be advocates and ambassadors for public education, to represent student and other educational needs before other governmental bodies and agencies.
Principles of Big Business
School board members must be models of excellence, and they must practice the highest ethical standards.
Teaching and learning are the board’s primary concerns, but the responsibility of local, lay control has many of the aspects of big business. For example, Glendale’s district budget is one of the largest, most complex and efficient of any business in the area.
This aspect of board service requires skills beyond “caring.” It requires ability and attention to detail and an understanding of how all the parts relate to the whole system. It requires knowledge and sound business practices.
Education is a national concern and a state responsibility, but it remains primarily a local function to get the job done.
Many Roles and Responsibilities
Americans strongly support the local governance of education through local Boards of Education. But relatively few Americans know of the roles and responsibilities of their local school board.
To meet its responsibilities to public education, children, and to the community, the board fills roles in a variety of areas, including:
• Policymaking — School district policies are approved by the board and carried out by the superintendent and school district staff.
• Staffing — The board’s main personnel function is to employ the superintendent, who serves as the district’s chief executive officer. The superintendent is the link between policy and administration. He reports directly to the board. All personnel matters are presented to the Board of Education for approval.
• Employer-Employee Relations — The board considers management’s position in collective bargaining negotiations.
• Fiscal Matters — Working with the superintendent and district staff, the board oversees the district’s financial condition.
• Curriculum — Board members work as part of the district’s education team to approve standards and maintain the high quality of the instructional program. As part of this process, trustees must keep current on proposed revisions in courses of study, ongoing changes in state and federal requirements, and guidelines in many different subject areas.
• Intergovernmental Relations — Working though local, state and national organizations, trustees stay attuned to what’s happening at all levels of government and potential effects on education in the district. This includes being knowledgeable about existing and proposed state and federal legislation, and meeting regularly with elected representatives at all levels of government.
• Interaction with the Community — First-rate schools are not possible without the strong and continuing support of community agencies and business. Trustees are in the forefront of this relationship, recognizing that good schools are a result of everyone in the community working together.
The order of business for regular board meetings is:
- Call to order and roll call
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Certificate of Compliance
- Approval of agenda order
- Presentations, communications from public, correspondence, acknowledgments and recognitions
- Special presentations to the board
- Public communications — Visitors may address the board on agenda and non-agenda topics
- Correspondence — Regarding correspondence sent to board members
- Acknowledgments and recognitions — Highlighting contributions and accomplishments of students, staff and community.
- Study session — This section is included as needed for topics that may require in depth presentations, discussion and interaction.
- Discussion Reports — These are items for discussion and interaction among the board and staff but not for action at this meeting.
- Information — These items are for the board’s information and do not require formal action.
- Consent calendar — These items are considered to be of a routine nature and are acted upon with one motion.
- Action Reports — Each of these items is usually presented separately for board consideration and action.
- Board Members
- Superintendent — This section provides an opportunity for the board and Superintendent to present items of interest.
- Closed session (May take place before or after the public meeting) — The board may meet in closed session for specific purposes as permitted by law.
Note: The Board may recess to closed session during the meeting and re-convene for additional business.