Role of the School Board

What Does the School Board Do?

A joint publication of the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Boards Association, Roles and Responsibilities, delineates the specific responsibilities of school boards and superintendents. Some of those responsibilities are as follows:

  • The board's primary role is the establishment of policy.
  • Works with the superintendent and community to develop a vision for the schools.
  • Advocates on behalf of students and their schools and promotes the benefits of public education.
  • Supports the superintendent in all decisions that conform to board policy, other decisions made by the board, or recognized professional standards.
  • Provides for policy on the effective management of complaints.
  • Provides for the periodic review of policies.
  • Ensures board members understand that, under law, the school board acts as a board and that individual board members have no independent authority.

The National School Boards Association has adopted a code of ethics to guide school board members. The code of ethics includes statements regarding "supporting the highest level of education possible; making decisions in terms of the best interest of the educational welfare of children; recognition that it is not the school boards responsibility to run the schools, but to see that they are well run; refusing to represent special interests or partisan politics; supporting decisions made by the majority of the board; referring all complaints to the appropriate level; and observing state laws and regulations pertaining to public education. The superintendent of schools is the only employed staff that reports directly to the school board.