CABL’s School Board Reform Efforts
What is the proper role of school boards and school board members? Those are questions CABL has attempted to raise in public debate and discussion over the last two years. Why? Because while many people are familiar with school boards and have, perhaps, seen their local school board in action, a lot of citizens are probably unaware of what the actual and proper role of a school board is.
Beginning in 2009, CABL in collaboration with other groups worked to promote school board reform legislation. In particular, we were concerned about the issue of micromanagement, where individual school board members inappropriately interfere in personnel issues that are really the job of the school superintendent.
For instance, we heard many first hand stories of school board members involved in the direct hiring, promotion or assignment of teachers, principals, coaches and other employees for various schools in their districts. Even though they hire the superintendent to act as the “CEO” of their school district, they were effectively undermining his or her authority. It makes it extremely difficult for a superintendent to be held accountable for results if individual school board members are telling their district leader who to hire or fire, assign to various roles and institute instructional strategies.
During the 2010 legislative session, CABL and others worked to pass Act 720 which we believe will help curb the practice of inappropriate interference in personnel decisions by individual school board members. Our school board elections initiative is an outgrowth of that effort. We want voters to be able to make informed decisions on Election Day, knowing important information about the role of an effective school board, their local school district’s performance, and where their school board candidates stand on improving education for all children.