Local school boards and their work

  • In writing the U.S. Constitution, the framers made no reference to education. Each of the 50 states, following the lead of Massachusetts, included in its original constitution, or in amendments to its constitution, provisions for establishing public school systems as a state function.
    Local school boards grew out of town meetings, dating back more than 200 years to the original 13 colonies. Times have changed, but the basic function of school boards today remains the same: to provide local citizen control over public education.

    The Colorado Constitution gives the state responsibility for providing a "thorough and uniform system of free public schools.” It also requires the General Assembly to organize school districts governed by local boards of education. The Colorado Constitution reserves to locally elected school boards the control of instruction in the public schools of their respective districts.

    As elected public officials, school board members are in a unique position to serve as a link between the school system and the public – connecting schools to the public and interpreting the public’s views of the schools. It is up to school board members to help build support and understanding of public education and to lead their communities in demanding quality education.

    Qualifications for Board Service

    • Registered elector of the school district for at least 12 consecutive months prior to election or appointment
    • If applicable, a resident of the director district for which the vacancy exists
    • 18 years or older
    • U.S. citizen
    • Never convicted of a sexual offense against a child
    But how does a board achieve these goals? The mechanics of board work come down to three basic principles:
    • Boards work as a legislative body
    • Boards work in meetings in a public setting
    • Boards work under the law
    In this chapter, we will cover how local school boards work as well as the role of an individual board member and guidelines for speaking for the board.
     

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