The ultimate responsibility falls on the shoulders of your local school board, as well as a series of educational bureaucrats at the state agencies, notably the Illinois State Board of Education.
How can you do this? We are here to help!!!
First, what rules govern school boards?
School Boards do their work under the authority of:
1) State statute
2) State regulations
3) Local school board policies and procedures.
Schools that accept federal funding also must adhere to various federal laws and regulations as well.
In Illinois, the school board is a unit of local government, with the power to levy taxes to pay for the school system. Have you ever visited your school board’s website? If not, please do, and find out who is on your school board!
What is a School Board? How do they work?
Every school district is headed up by a local school board that is elected. They are the governing body, and approve or deny actions by majority vote. These individuals make decisions about school policies, school days, curriculum, hires, budgets and expenses, within the scope of their authority under state law.
The Board also chooses and hires the Superintendent, who is the chief executive officer over faculty and staff.
A Superintendent is an overall administrative manager that proposes policy. He/she operates at the will of the school board. The Superintendent has a contract with the school district. At the end of the superintendent’s contract, the contact may or may not be renewed.
The Superintendent hires all personnel and manages the entire school operation. He/she may have several administrative support personnel in the school district office. They also hire/fire all teaching personnel.
How does a school board operate?
What has become the common practice in Illinois, the superintendent will present items for consideration in an agenda at regular or special board meetings. The board’s duty is to vote to approve or deny these items, or ask for changes to the items that will need to be brought back for another vote. The superintendent should not make decisions without the school board consent. Unfortunately, very few board members present items for approval or discussion, although they do have the legal authority to do so. When a superintendent makes a decision to open and close schools, go hybrid, etc, it must be at the consent of the school board at an Open Meeting (meetings open to the public).
That’s why becoming engaged in school board meetings is so important!
Go to the Meetings in person!
Are you ready to be involved? The best place to start is to watch or attend board meetings, so that you can become familiar with the legal proceedings of this form of government. School Board meetings, agendas and minutes are on the School District website under School Board. Many past meetings are captured in video online for your review as well. In person attendance at these meetings represents a real commitment to the decision making process. When you attend the meetings, you may have a lot of very logical questions.