Board Member Roles and Responsibilities

  • School Board Member Candidate Qualifications

    A U.S. citizen, and at least 18 years of age, and able to read and write, and a district resident for at least one year prior to the election, and not employed by the board on which he or she serves, and not reside with another member of the same school board as a member of the same family, and not hold another incompatible public office.


    The Process

    Candidates must submit nominating petitions to the district clerk by a predetermined published date with the signatures of qualified voters equal in number to 2% of the voters in the previous annual school board election, or at least 25 names, whichever is greater.

    Candidates campaign among eligible voters.

    Voters elect members of school boards.

    In Rochester, board members are elected as part of the November general election.

    In surrounding districts, board members are elected during the annual vote on the third Tuesday in May.


    School Board Members

    Take an oath of office.

    Advocate for public education.

    Create and revise district policies. Study issues and regulations.

    Discuss issues at public board meetings.

    Vote on issues affecting their districts.

    Support the decisions of the board majority.

    Promote public education in their local communities and beyond.


    School Board Member Responsibilities

    They take an oath of responsibility as local officials to support the state and federal constitutions and perform the duties of their office.

    They learn their district’s goals and policies set by their boards in previous years.

    They make decisions based on law, district policies and governmental regulations.

    They participate in a periodic review of policies and goals—to help define policy and to develop long-term plans.

    They work to inform the process of developing state and federal laws and regulations.

    They seek adequate state and federal support for public schools.

    They attend workshops/seminars on a wide range of topics to enable sound decisions.

    They listen to concerned citizens as the need arises and direct them to the proper district employee for resolution of problems.

    They do NOT involve themselves in operating the school district, but DO receive regular process and progress reports.


    Board of Education Responsibilities

    Boards of Education act only during publicly convened meetings. A school board is a corporate body and has power only when meeting.

    Boards of Education frequently hold study sessions to discuss and review proposals without taking official action.

    School Boards create and revise their districts’ mission statements and goals, as well as the district policies that support them. * School board members visit district schools and monitor the academic performance of students.

    School Boards annually adopt a school district budget to support the operation of the district.

    In Rochester, the budget is taken to City Council for approval.

    In the surrounding districts, the budget is presented directly to voters for approval on the third Tuesday in May.

    School Boards ratify contracts with employee bargaining units. They study labor issues and set parameters for the negotiations process; They include funds in their budget proposal for negotiated salaries.

    School boards hire the superintendent for their district. This decision is considered their most important decision since the superintendent serves as the chief executive officer for the school district. Superintendents recommend actions for board approval and implement board decisions.

    No one board member can bind the school board to a particular action. Persuasion during open discussion is the only way to influence voting on issues before a school board. - School boards gather input from concerned citizens and explain controversial decisions. - Board members must defend and support controversial board decisions.

    Some board decisions are routine:

    - Approving agendas and minutes;

    - Accepting reports, warrants, or bills;

    - Staff placement;

    - Program placements for special education students;

    - Meeting schedules, topics, and times.

    Decisions made by the school board are implemented by the district’s superintendent and staff.





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