Role of School Boards

  • The local school board is a critical public link to public schools. School board members serve their communities in several important ways.

    • First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school board’s agenda—it is the only item.
    • School boards are accessible to the public and accountable for the performance of their schools.
    • School boards ensure that students get the best education for the tax dollars spent.

    Below is information that builds public understanding about the roles and responsibilities of school boards. It also provides materials and links to information identifying qualities of effective school boards that are successful where it counts—the achievement of their students.

    What is a school board's most important responsibility?
    The most important responsibility of school boards is to work with their communities to improve student achievement in their local public schools. School boards derive their power and authority from the state. In compliance with state and federal laws, school boards establish policies and regulations by which their local schools are governed.

    The local school board is responsible for:

    • employing the superintendent
    • developing and adopting policies, curriculum, and the budget;
    • overseeing facilities issues

    See more at: National School Boards Association—Frequently Asked Questions
    *Source: National School Boards Association


    1. Determine school district’s mission and purpose
    2. Establish policies to accomplish the district’s stated mission and ensure that policies are being followed
    3. Select the Superintendent
    4. Support the Superintendent and assess performance
    5. Ensure effective organizational planning
    6. Ensure adequate resources:
      1. Financial
      2. Facilities
      3. Human
      4. Time
    7. Assure effective management of resources
    8. Determine, monitor, and strengthen the district’s programs and services
    9. Enhance the school district’s public standing
    10. Ensure legal and ethical integrity, maintaining accountability
    11. Provide support and orientation for new board members