The responsibilities of education-policy boards, according to the Task Force on School Governance:
- Develop strategic plans with long- and short-term goals, objectives, performance indicators, and pupil-assessment systems.
- Set budget and spending priorities. Establish policies for contracting and purchasing, and hire independent auditors to review the execution of these policies. Do not review all contracts that are competitively bid or vote on contracts for limited amounts.
- For large projects, consider a “community building committee,’' including some board members as well as outside appointees. The building committee would approve change orders and oversee construction.
- Establish overall goals for labor agreements and approve final contracts. Do not engage in the negotiating process.
- Ensure the creation of effective staff-development policies.
- Hire a superintendent and set personnel policies. Do not interview or approve prospective principals.
- Convene community forums on major educational-policy issues. Do not serve as the ultimate level of appeal for individual complaints by citizens. Instead, use an ombudsman or administrative hearings as a resource for citizen complaints and appeals.
- Do not preside over student or employee grievances, except in such unusual cases as the termination of tenured teachers. States should charter local mediation and arbitration panels to resolve complaints and disputes.
The responsibilities of state government:
- Set broad educational goals without restricting the ability of local boards to innovate.
- Hold local boards accountable for meeting overall ethical, managerial, and performance standards. Have in place a set of graduated intervention strategies, ranging from support and assistance to takeover.
- Establish strict regulations concerning potential conflicts of interest for board members. Create specific resources, procedures, and programs to help prepare new board members. Mandate and fund board self-assessment and development activities.
- Select and support “masters’'--outside facilitators with expertise and experience in education policy and school governance--to assist in local problem-solving and conflict resolution. Masters would intervene before the local board’s policymaking process had broken down completely.
- Establish and make available panels of experts to work with school boards requiring assistance in such areas as strategic planning, development of curriculum frameworks, review of school-site performance, and staff development.
A version of this article appeared in the April 08, 1992 edition of Education Week as Recommendations of Governance Task Force