Education & Government
Kathleen Vail Image
Kathleen Vail
Former Editor-in-Chief, National School Boards Association

Top tips to save time for school board secretaries and clerks

February 8, 2024
0 min read
Tips to save time for school board secretaries and clerks

School board secretaries are the unsung heroes of board governance. Because the work of board secretaries is most often done behind the scenes, many people don’t know or understand how crucial board secretaries are to the success of the board, administrators and the district.

School board members arrive at the district board room for their regular monthly meeting. They take their seats and open their laptops to read the digital agenda for the meeting. They had plenty of time to review the agenda, supporting materials and the minutes from the last meeting, so they are ready to address the business before them.

Board secretaries put a lot of preparation into this meeting, even before the board members walked into the room. These district administration employees have numerous duties, including handling meeting logistics, recording and organizing meeting minutes, sending meeting notices to the public, and ensuring that the board is in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Superintendents and board presidents frequently refer to their board secretaries as their right hands. Managing meeting logistics and recording minutes are the tip of the iceberg of a board secretary’s responsibilities, which have grown in complexity over the past decade, along with workloads.

Unfortunately, this is causing stress and burnout among these essential and pivotal employees. Time-saving measures can help ease their burden, prevent job dissatisfaction, and make their jobs easier.

Responsibilities of the board secretary or clerk

School board secretaries, who often also serve as the superintendent’s administrative assistant, are responsible for many tasks crucial to the board's ability to govern and the district's ability to serve its students. Board secretaries:

  • Take and organize meeting minutes: The board secretary or clerk takes and records the minutes of every public school board meeting.
  • Maintain policies and procedures:They also update and maintain district policies and procedures and communicate with administrators about changes.
  • Schedule meetings and ensure that the meeting time is posted for the public: They make sure that the board room or other venue is available for meetings. If the board travels to different venues, they make sure that the change in venue is publicized and the room they use is adequate for the needs of the meeting, including public accessibility.
  • Ensure compliance: They make sure that the board agenda and public posting of information is in compliance with state and federal regulations, mandates and open meetings laws.
  • Track activities: Secretaries notify board members of upcoming district activities and functions, as well as track board and superintendent speaking engagements and meetings with government officials.
  • Record and maintain official records: These records include all the official actions of the school board, including property bids submitted or projects that lead to contracts by the school board, receipts and disbursements, vouchers, contracts, and other documents.
  • Respond to requests: School board secretaries field requests from the public and from administrators on division policy information. They track adopted policies for accuracy and refer specific policy questions to the appropriate department.

Time-saving tips for board secretaries

Here are practical tips to help board secretaries streamline their tasks, save time and enhance their effectiveness:

Use digital tools

Digital tools and software can be used for scheduling, document management and communication. Board management software and other digital tools can streamline tasks and increase efficiency.

Use templates

Standardized templates for meeting agendas, minutes, and common documents reduce the time spent on formatting and ensure consistency across meetings.

Automate routine tasks

Identify items and tasks that can be automated or handled by technology, such as your board management software. This can include meeting reminders, minute creation, email responses, voting or document distribution. Technology tools can reduce manual workload and minimize errors.

Decide when and if to delegate

Some tasks can be handled by other district staff members or even board members. Effective delegation ensures that the workload is distributed to prevent burnout and allow secretaries to focus on responsibilities only they should handle.

Handle tasks in batches

Group similar tasks together and handle them in batches. This approach minimizes the mental load of context-switching and increases overall efficiency.

Embrace continuous learning and professional development

Stay updated on the latest tools, techniques, and best practices related to board management. Workshops and training sessions can enhance skills and efficiency.

Streamline meeting processes

Consider revamping meeting processes to make them more efficient. This could include using electronic voting to record board votes and incorporating digital technology for public comments and input.

Organize digital documents

Organize digital documents systematically with folder structures and clear naming conventions. This makes it easier to locate and retrieve documents when needed. Digital tools also can help track the approval process for policies and other documents.

Hold regular process reviews

Conduct regular reviews of administrative processes to identify areas for improvement. Seek feedback from board members, administrators, and others to refine and update procedures.

Unsung heroes deserve a break

Board secretaries and clerks shoulder enormous responsibility. When they do their job well, no one notices. If something goes awry, they are the first in line for the blame. Supporting board secretaries to save time and make their job easier will allow them to perform their duties to the highest level. In turn, they will help the school board govern to its highest level.

Diligent Community is a cloud-based software solution that is specifically designed for school boards. It provides a centralized platform for school board secretaries and clerks to manage all their tasks. It can help them save time, improve accuracy, and reduce the risk of errors. It enhances administrative processes, streamlines communication, and improves overall efficiency.

Diligent Community supports board secretaries and clerks with robust tools to manage and organize board meetings effortlessly. Request a demo of Diligent Community to see how it can help board secretaries save time while supporting their boards.


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