(From the California School Board's Association)
 
It's easy to say that School Boards govern their schools. But what does that mean in everyday practice? There are, in fact, four major board roles:

card header icon1. Establishing a vision for the community's schools

Of all the roles and responsibilities of governing boards, none is more central to the purpose of local governance than ensuring that a long-term vision is established for the school system. The vision reflects the consensus of the entire Board and the Superintendent as to what the students need in order to achieve their highest potential. The vision should set a direction for the school district, driving every aspect of the district's program. 

card header icon2. Maintaining an effective and efficient structure for the school district

The Board is responsible for establishing and maintaining an organizational structure that supports the district's vision and empowers the professional staff. Although the Board doesn't implement policies or programs, board members are responsible for:
  • employing and supporting the Superintendent and setting policy for hiring other personnel;
  • adopting policies;
  • adopting the curriculum;
  • adopting the budget and overseeing facilities issues; and
  • adopting collective bargaining agreements. 

card header icon3. Ensuring accountability to the public

As community representatives, boards are accountable to the public for the results of their schools. In order to ensure personnel, program and fiscal accountability, boards are responsible for:
  • evaluating the Superintendent;
  • evaluating policies and serving as a judicial and appeals body;
  • monitoring student achievement and adopting program changes;
  • monitoring and adjusting district finances; and
  • monitoring the collective bargaining process. 

card header icon4. Providing community leadership

As the only locally elected officials chosen to represent the interests of schoolchildren, Board members have a responsibility to speak out on behalf of the children in their community.
 
Boards are advocates for their students, their districts' educational programs and public education. They build support within their communities and at the state and national levels.
 
These four roles represent the functions that are so fundamental to a school system's accountability to the public that, in our democratic society, they can only be performed by an elected governing body. Authority for these roles is granted to the Board as a whole. Therefore, Board members fulfill these roles by working together as a governance team with the Superintendent to make decisions that will best serve all the students in the community.