What does a school board do?

Effective governance by school boards positively impacts students' academic performance. Understanding their collective responsibilities and powers is crucial for achieving effective governance. In Pennsylvania, school districts are created by statutes and function as agents of the state. The "Public School Code of 1949" outlines school boards' powers and duties.

School boards play key roles as employers, strategic planners, policymakers, and tax levying authorities. Despite broad powers, they operate within a highly regulated environment, complying with various laws and regulations. To be effective, school boards should focus on governing strategically by setting goals, enacting policies, hiring staff, and allocating resources.

The board's responsibilities revolve around planning, legislating, empowering staff, and evaluating results. Planning involves comprehensive processes, determining future needs, and engaging the community. Legislation turns plans into action and guides day-to-day operations. Empowering professional staff ensures policy implementation. Evaluating results drives further planning and policymaking. The superintendent and board form a critical governance loop, linked through deliberation and decision-making.

For more information please read the Pennsylvania School Boards Association's Responsibilities of School Boards and School Directors.

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