School Board Member Duties

RESOURCES | BECOMING A BOARD MEMBER

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Local school boards are a uniquely American institution and at the heart of this country’s public education system. A board’s existence is based on the belief that lay control of public education makes schools flexible and responsive to the needs of the local community. #KeepEducationLocal

School board members are responsible for broad, forward-thinking, minute analysis and decisive action in all areas that affect students and staff in their schools. Some roles and responsibilities are implicit. Others are specifically mandated (A.R.S. §15-341) or allowed (§15-342) by Arizona law. Everything board members do is focused on providing the best education possible for every child in their community.
Set the Direction
The governing board, with extensive involvement from the staff and community, is responsible for envisioning the future of the public schools in their community. After setting the vision and mission for the district, the governing board works collaboratively to establish a strategic plan and goals to move the organization toward the community’s vision for its schools.

Establish the Structure
Board policies and goals establish the structure and create the environment for ensuring that all students are served. The superintendent uses the structure established by the board to manage operations on a day-to-day basis. Although the superintendent may suggest changes to policies, only the board as a whole has the legal authority to adopt policy.

Provide Support
The board provides support to its organization by ensuring that resources are adequate and aligned to meet established goals. Support also is provided by recognizing and encouraging excellence throughout the organization.

Ensure Accountability
As the community’s representative in the local schools, the board is responsible for ensuring that the schools are well run – that resources are used wisely and that high standards for academic performance are set. The board as a whole needs to monitor performance to meet established goals – academic, financial and operational.

Advocate for Your Students
One of the board’s most important roles is to be the ambassador for public education in the community. As individuals, each board member can help communicate the ways in which their local schools are supporting student educational needs, parent and community aspirations, and state and federal standards. Together, the board also can demonstrate that an atmosphere of collaboration and respect is the most conducive environment for providing the best education for children in the community.

Abide by a Code of Ethics
A code of ethics for board members is included in the policies adopted by most school boards for their districts, and it is incumbent on individual board members to follow it.

Specific Duties
Specific duties of school boards may relate to employment, purchasing, budget preparation, students and policies. They may include:

  • Hiring and evaluating the district superintendent.
  • Providing guidance in the development of the budget to ensure funding needed to meet board established goals.
  • Approving the budget.
  • Monitoring the budget.
  • Setting salaries for employees.
  • Approving purchases.
  • Establishing and approving policies.
  • Approving curriculum materials.
  • Adopting the school calendar.
  • Reviewing regulations for compliance with policy.
  • Approving personnel actions based on the superintendent’s recommendation.
  • Closing or constructing schools.
  • Assessing board effectiveness.
  • Monitoring progress toward goals.

Mandatory duties of school boards are defined in A.R.S. §15-341. Discretionary powers are defined in A.R.S. §15-342.)

What School Board Members and Boards DON’T Do
School board members do not:

  • Implement policy; school boards make policy and superintendents carry it out.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the school district; school boards see to it that the district is managed by professionals.
  • Evaluate staff, other than the superintendent, nor do they become involved in employment interviews, other than those for superintendent.

Additional Information

Becoming a Board Member
The Arizona School Boards Association is solely responsible for this advertisement. The Arizona School Boards Association is an association of school districts authorized under Arizona Revised Statutes section 15-342 and a non-profit organization organized under section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Arizona School Boards Association is non-partisan and seeks to promote public education, local control of education and school board governance. School board members, whose school districts make up the Arizona School Boards Association’s membership, are elected or appointed, non-partisan and serve for no remuneration.

ASBA School Board Service Booklet
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Request an ASBA Representative
Your organization or community group can learn more about school board service and how to become a board member by requesting an ASBA representative to speak at your event or meeting.

Do You Have What it Takes?
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