What is a Board of Education?

Running for the School Board

Have you ever considered running for the school board but chose not to because you were not entirely clear what the job entailed? Whereas many people may talk about running at one time or another, few actually take up the mantel to do so.

One of the largest concerns regarding running for the board is related to the time-commitment it requires. At times serving on the school board is time consuming, and yet on other occasions it requires very little of your time. The board meets one to two times per month. Committees meet as needed, with the negotiations committee requiring the most amount of time when large contracts are up for renegotiations.

The most important aspect of being a good board member is arriving to all meetings prepared for discussions. This requires reading of all materials provided to the board prior to each meeting.

By joining the school board, you will gain knowledge of the entire workings of our district, and appreciation for how each staff member contributes to our community and most importantly you will develop collaborative relationships with a wide array of school and community members.

What Does a School Board Member do?

Public education is in a time of much flux. Changes to NYS Standards as well as the new Every Student Succeeds Act and its impact on assessing school districts has resulted in a multitude of challenges for schools across the state. School boards therefore need men and women who find both excitement and satisfaction in confronting these tough and ongoing challenges.

The United States is unique in its format that allows for boards of education to serve as stewards for our public education. This, much like our constitution, maintains flexibility and responsiveness for our school communities. As a member of a board of education in New York State, you are charged with assuming important responsibilities that direct the education of the community’s youth. You are stewards of our community’s future.

School Members Undertake the Following Roles

  • An individual board member

  • A member of the district governance team that is comprised of the school board and the district’s superintendent

The Board Focuses on ENDS:

  • Vision, goals, and policy

  • This includes the what? Why? How well? And How much?

The Superintendent (as CEO) Focuses on the MEANS:

  • Objectives, plans, actions and recommendations

  • How? When? Where? Whom?

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of School Board Members?

Major Roles:

  • Representative – of the entire community

  • Steward – of the district’s resources

  • Leader – of the district

  • Advocate – for public education

Major Board Responsibilities

Set the District’s Direction – drawing upon the community, the board describes a shared vision, established goals, standards and strategy to transform vision into reality.

Ensure Alignment – of strategy, resources, policies, programs, and processes with district goals.

Assess & Account for Progress – using comprehensive data, thorough deliberation, and open communication

Continuously Improve the District – by accentuating and reinforcing the positive and correcting the negative.

Educated on School Board Member Roles/Responsibilities & Duties – In accordance with NYS Education Department rules/guidelines, all new Board of Education members must take the prescribed coursework in order to serve as a NYS board of education member.