A number of years ago, I was fortunate to be asked to contribute to a statement about the work of local school boards. In collaboration with my colleagues across the state, the statement below has been adopted by Utah School Boards Association and was recognized by National School Boards Association, in the Key Works of Local School Boards.
My work board work on the local level as well as the state level, has helped me to keep my eye focused on my responsibilities and obligations as an elected official representing the children of Utah.
A school board is made up of individual members that are locally elected to represent their community in the policy making, budgeting and fiscal management, and overall supervision of their local public schools. They are the public overseers responsible for the education of the children of their community allowing students to receive an education that will lead to successful citizenship. A board member’s responsibility to their stakeholders is to look after the health, welfare and performance of the entire educational institution in a manner that instills public trust in the competence and integrity of the organization.”
An effective school board recognizes their predominant responsibility is to establish policies and procedures for the local district. An effective boards primary focus is student achievement when setting policy and allocating resources and revenues. An effective school board uses data to drive the decision-making process, which leads to measurable results. An effective school board puts in place mechanisms for community involvement in setting the vision of the district, community values and identifying the districts short-term and long-term priorities. Effective school boards are advocates, with a unified voice, for public education.
The relevance of school boards today is dependent on doing what matters. The functions and decisions of school boards are important, often those decisions made have a greater long-term impact on our communities and children than those of any other elected bodies of government.