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Boards, Superintendents Seek More Power

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Both school-board members and superintendents want a greater say in the hiring, firing, and promotion of personnel, and that tug-of-war over authority could lead to problems, according to a survey published in the October issue of The American School Board Journal.

The survey, conducted last spring by the journal and researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, sought to identify points of agreement and disagreement between the two groups over their respective roles in school leadership. Some 2,488 members of each group were questioned, with 535 board members responding and 817 superintendents.

Respondents were presented with 27 different situations and asked to identify who now made and who should make decisions in each area.

On every issue, board members said they wanted greater authority than they now have. In three categories--curriculum and instruction, administration and governance, and financial management--the superintendents agreed that board members should have more authority. But they would yield less decisionmaking power than board members want.

The journal suggested editorially that board members and superintendents might avoid potential problems by clarifying role definitions before questions of authority occur.--lo

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