The word “public” in public school refers to the fact that it is the citizens themselves who control the public schools. In most states, they do this in part by electing a school board of – depending on the size and configuration of the district – three, five or seven members who must be residents of the school district.
The most important thing a school board does is to establish a vision for the community’s schools that reflects a consensus of the board, community and district staff. The school board has a wide variety of additional responsibilities, such as adopting a balanced annual budget and issuing interim financial reports, adopting the school calendar, negotiating contracts with employee unions, approving curriculum materials and closing or constructing schools.
What philosophy of education do we want our local schools to have? What should our students know and be able to do when they graduate? How can schools best educate students who come from diverse backgrounds? These are some of the types of questions that a school board must ponder when trying to establish a vision.
Turning Vision Into Practice
Whatever the vision may be, it’s up to the school superintendent to implement it. This is why one of the board’s most crucial decisions is the hiring and firing of the superintendent. The board also approves the superintendent’s personnel recommendations.
School board meetings must be open to the public with the agenda publicly posted in advance. You can learn a lot about your district’s policies and challenges by attending a meeting. In most cases, board meetings are also structured to give you a chance to express your opinions to the board and the community.
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EDUC 206 School Board Meeting 4/5/13 On April 3, 2013 at 7pm I attended a board meeting at Greater Plains Elementary School in Oneonta, New York. When I got to the school I found that the meeting was in the cafeteria. Upon walking into the cafeteria there was an attendance sheet for people to sign and there were important papers on a table to take if you wanted them, some of these papers included; the meeting agenda and a summary of staff reduction for the current school year. There were plenty of chairs lined up throughout the room to allow for comfortable sitting of multiple people. There were about 50 to 60 people present at the meeting. I got to the meeting about 10 minutes early so I got to watch as more and more people came to be present for the meeting. The meeting started with a roll call in which the 10 people on the board stated their names and said that they were present for the meeting. It was difficult to hear so I missed a lot of what was said throughout the meeting but I feel as if I could hear the main parts. The first page