Survey Examines Board Relations

By Blake Rodman — September 17, 1986 1 min read

Nine out of 10 local school-board presidents and superintendents say the working relationship between the board of education and superintendent in their district is “good” or “excellent,” a new survey has found.

Only 11.6 percent of board presidents and 9 percent of school superintendents responding to the survey conducted by the Education Research Service for the American Association of School Administrators and the National Association of School Boards rated the relationship in their district as “fair” or “poor.”

More than half of the survey respondents from both groups said the relationship is excellent.

Superintendents and school-board presidents from one out of every seven of the nation’s 14,000 public-school districts were mailed survey questionnaires last spring; 62 percent of the superintendents and 33 percent of the board presidents responded.

Widely publicized disagreements between some boards and their superintendents and the infrequent firing of a superintendent have given the public the impression “that there is more of an adversarial relationship between boards and superintendents than there really is,” said Richard D. Miller, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators.

Responding board presidents and superintendents most often cited “good communications” and “trust and respect” as the key reasons for I their district’s positive board-superintendent relationship, according to a summary of the survey’s findings.

Those board presidents and superintendents who gave poor ratings to their district’s board-superintendent relation hip most often . aid that “problem board members” were to blame, the summary said.

Responding board presidents and superintendents agree that the three issues that most frequently spark debate at school-board meetings are resource allocation, personnel allocation and management, and salary scales, the survey found. For more information on the survey’s findings, write Gary Marx, A.A.S.A., 1801 N. Moore Street, Arlington, Va. 22209, or Phil Smith, N.S.B.A., 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, Va. 22314.

A version of this article appeared in the September 17, 1986 edition of Education Week as Survey Examines Board Relations