School Board Member Responsibilities

Lena Eisenstein

In this article, you will learn:

  • The core school board activities that students, parents and community members rely on

  • The role of board management software in supporting all school board member responsibilities

School boards play an important role in the success of the school district. The school board member responsibilities are not accomplished through sole members, but through the collection of these representatives of the community that comprise the board.

Each school board member brings specific talents, skills, and expertise to contribute to the collaboration of accomplishing the work of the board for the benefit of the district and its students.

School board members are individuals elected by their community to serve as representatives of the public. As champions for the community, school board members work to make sure the needs and desires of the public are brought to life through successfully carrying out their responsibilities.

School board member responsibilities can be burdensome, as they work to serve as representatives and advocates for their local district. However, the work completed by board members is vital to the success of the district and its students.

There are tools available that boards can utilize to efficiently, effectively, and successfully fulfill their school board member responsibilities.

What are school board member responsibilities?

There are five major school board member responsibilities. These duties are vital to the work and performance of the local school district.

1. Establish the vision and goals for the school district.

An effective and efficient school board knows that the establishing and implementing of strategic plans is necessary to successful board governance. The school board for a public district should form a vision that is reflective of the needs and goals of the public. Then, establish, prioritize, and accomplish goals that directly support that vision.

BoardDocs, a cloud-based school board management system, features goal-tracking software that allows the board to establish, measure, and track goals. School boards are even able to share goal progress through the platform to social media or via e-mail updates.

BoardDocs software allows board members to customize goal-related content through the board's site. Board members can link files or documents, establish action items or to-do's, create a measurable matrix, and track time that has been spent on accomplishing goals.

Establishing the vision and the goal for the district is a major school board member responsibility, it is imperative that the board utilizes tools to effectively and efficiently accomplish this task.

2. Be aware of policies, laws, and regulations that may impact the work of the district; and implement policies that help improve the work of the district and its schools.

Establishing policies and a governance model supports the board in effectively and efficiently carrying out their school board member responsibilities.

It is imperative that school boards are aware of the various federal and state laws, regulations, and local policies that can impact the work for the district. These laws and policies govern the work of the school board. It is crucial that school boards stay informed of these policies and regulations and how they may impact the school board's decisions and actions.

The right board management software can provide school boards with the tools and security to keep board members informed of policies and to successfully hold to a governance model.

Leveraging BoardDocs, school boards can save documents and other materials related to policies, laws, and regulations in the 'Library' feature. These materials are all searchable by keyword, which can be extremely helpful for new board members or the public. Training materials can also be housed and shared with board members within the platform.


3. School board member responsibilities to hire and evaluate the district's superintendent.

School boards can face a lot of pressure when hiring a superintendent for the school district. The superintendent effectively serves as the chief executive officer of the local district, carrying out the day-to-day work to accomplish goals and fulfill the vision for the local district.

When boards search for and/or evaluate their superintendent, certain technologies can streamline the process and allow for more productive results. BoardDocs allows school boards to share documents and links related to superintendent searches. These items can be linked to meeting agendas or be made available to the public.

Superintendents also have the ability to apply the goal-tracking feature of BoardDocs to build goals that they can connect to tasks for evaluations. The privacy setting of these goals can also be overseen by the superintendent. The superintendent can use these tools to emphasize accomplishments in the evaluation or go over goals with their cabinet.


4. Adopt and maintain an annual budget that is aligned with the vision of the local school district.

Ensuring that the expenses of the public school district is aligned with the goals and vision set by the school board is one of the board's greatest responsibilities. It ensures that the school board is prioritizing what is really important (and what they may have promised the public) when it comes to accomplishing the goals and working towards the vision of the district.

Utilizing BoardDocs, the school board can share and store documents and materials related to the budget and expenses. Contracts, proposals, and other pertinent information can all be stored and easily accessed. The school board can also supervise who sees this information, meaning that anything that should only be accessible by the board would not be available for public viewing.


5. Serve as leaders and representatives of the community and as advocates for students and the school district.

School boards can be direct reflections of their community and serve to meet the needs and goals of the local school district. School board member responsibilities are really to the public, to whom they are accountable. It is vital that the school board maintains open communication with the community.

Establishing a vision and achieving goals to work toward that vision is important, but so is cultivating trust and transparency by keeping the public informed. Treating the public with respect and maintaining transparency through sharing pertinent information can foster trust and respect between the school board and the local community.

BoardDocs supports this level of engagement and care for the public through features that make it easy for school boards to share information. Paperless meeting agendas, articles, meeting details, previous meeting minutes, and other pertinent information can all be made public on the school board's site for the community to access.

While these school board member responsibilities may seem taxing and burdensome, the reward through community, district, and student successes is worth the effort.

School board members serve as representatives and advocates for their community, prioritizing the needs and interests of students and the public school system. Through school board member responsibilities tied to governance, policies, budgeting, and more, the board can cultivate a culture of support and success within the community. Utilizing resources like BoardDocs, school board member responsibilities can efficiently and effectively be accomplished.

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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.