School Board Duties and Responsibilities

Maine state law charges School Boards with the responsibility to "manage the schools". This is done essentially by selecting a Superintendent of Schools and providing him/her with authority and direction. It is not the duty of the Board to operate the schools but to see that they are well operated.

The Board concerns itself primarily with broad questions of policy rather than with administrative details. The application of policies is an administrative task to be performed by the Superintendent of Schools and his/her staff, who shall be held responsible for the effective administration and supervision of the entire school system.

Members of the Board have authority only when acting as a Board legally in session. The Board shall not be bound in any way by an action or statement of an individual member except when such statement or action is in pursuance of specific instructions from the Board.

What do Board members do?

  • Policy making;

  • Designate the Chief Executive;

  • Plan, set goals, and appraise results;

  • Approve and adopt financial resources;

  • Negotiate and approve collective bargaining agreements;

  • Set clear expectations/standards and adopt policies regarding instructional programs;

  • Determine school housing needs;

  • Communicate with various constituencies;

  • Advocate for the needs of the students;

  • Establish procedures for the operation of the Board;

  • Review and evaluate Board operations and performance;

  • Elect Board officers;

  • Approve the annual school calendar;

  • Establish and maintain effective Board-Superintendent relations; and

  • Work with (as well as authorizing administration to work with) town, county, and other government and non-government officials and agencies.

To be a successful member of the Board, there are several basic principles to keep in mind:

  • It is necessary to be willing to learn about and analyze complex issues; help the public understand the issues; and work with fellow Board members and use your best judgment in making decisions.

  • It is important to learn how to make good decisions based on all available information--even when the Board might be under time or political pressure.

  • It is important to be able to work effectively as a part of a team.

  • Under competing pressures and demands, it is necessary to be committed to doing the right things and to doing things right.

  • A Board member must act as a policy maker and not an administrator.

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