What is a school board and what does it do?
A school board is a legislative body of citizens called school directors who are elected locally and who serve as agents of the state legislature to provide a thorough and efficient system of education as mandated by the constitution. Each board consists of nine members who serve four-year terms without pay. The superintendent is also an official (though nonvoting) member of the board and attends all meetings and executive sessions.
The school board is the governing body of the school district with three basic functions: planning, setting policy, and evaluating results. Among other responsibilities, the school board establishes school district policies; adopts an annual budget and sets the tax rate; approves expenditures, contracts, and personnel actions; adopts an annual school calendar; and approves textbooks and courses of study.
What are the qualifications to run for school director?
To run for school director, you must be: A citizen of Pennsylvania who is at least eighteen years old, of good moral character and a resident of the district at least one year prior to election or appointment.
How are board members elected?
School board elections are held in November of odd-numbered years. School districts may choose to elect their board members at large, by region, or by a combination of the two. Central Bucks is divided into nine voting regions, each of which includes one or more municipal (borough or township) voting regions. Each school board voting region elects one school director, but once elected, members represent the interests of the district as a whole.
When a vacancy occurs during a member's term, the board appoints a replacement to serve until the next municipal election. If the original board member's seat was not up for election at that time, candidates run for the remainder of the term.
A president and vice president are elected every year during the special reorganization meeting which is held on the first Monday in December. Any newly elected members also take office at that time. The secretary is elected once every four years, and the treasurer is elected annually. These officers may also be members of the board but often are not, especially in large districts. The current secretary and treasurer, who are district employees, do not receive any pay for their positions. A recording secretary, who is paid, takes the minutes of each meeting and provides them for approval at the next meeting.
When and where are meetings held?
Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month except for July, August, and December. In July and August, the board meets on the fourth Tuesday only. In December, the board meets on the second Tuesday only. Meetings are held at the Central Bucks Educational Services Center at 16 Welden Drive in Doylestown. All meetings start at 7:30 p.m.
What happens during the school board meeting?
The school board approves minutes from the previous meeting, approves the treasurer's report, ratifies investments, approves payment of bills, authorizes purchases and preparation of bids, approves all textbooks and courses of study, approves personnel actions (labor agreements, appointments, resignations, and the like), approves student items (such as student trips and foreign exchange students), and authorizes conference attendance by staff members.
The budget is a major agenda item of board discussion beginning in the spring. The annual budget must be adopted prior to July 1, but as a practical matter, the adoption is held a month earlier to give tax collectors an opportunity to prepare their bills by July 1. Since the district is in a period of rapid population growth, enrollment projections and plans for new facilities are another major topic for board discussion and action.
The superintendent also reports to the board at each meeting. He might present topics under discussion by the board such as the budget or facility needs, for example, or highlight test results or a particular curricular area.
Can the public comment at board meetings?
The public is invited to attend all meetings, and a listing of agenda items is provided at the meeting. Members of the public who wish to address the board prior to action items may sign up at the lectern before 7:30 p.m. Comments are limited to three minutes or less, depending on the number of speakers.