Board Members Getting Answers

What are effective and proper procedures a board member may use in order to get answers to questions he/she may feel are important?

  1. The magic words to use are “with the permission of the Board I would like to direct the administration to….” and make sure it is written into the minutes.

    Submitted on .
  2. I agree with the “magic words” approach. It becomes very awkward for the administration if such requests are made outside of a meeting. Should the full board not want the administration to do the work necessary to fulfill the request, they can say so.

    Submitted on .
  3. There are three approaches:

    1. Ask the superintendent to provide the information.
    2. Ask the board chair to get the information.
    3. Ask the board to delegate you to ask the question directly (a recorded decision of the board).

    Even if you get the authority of the board to ask questions directly, it is best to go through the superintendent. Going directly to others should only be done by individual members if specifically authorized by the board. This may be necessary when there is a lack of confidence in the superintendent, or when there might be a conflict of interest with the superintendent, and it should be very rare. Individual board members bypassing the superintendent undermines the authority of the superintendent and can have a very harmful and divisive effect on the school district as a whole.

    Submitted on .
  4. The question seems to imply that getting answers to questions is more difficult for a board member than it is for a member of the taxpaying public. Is that a fact? This has not been a problem for me in either situation. The posted answer is very good if the question is something that the board wants to discuss at a future meeting.

    Submitted on .
  5. To keep your board meetings effective and your administrators time effectively used, I would suggest that your board and administrator(s) have a discussion around goals, objectives and an effective reporting schedule toward meeting these. Make your case for the reason it is necessary that the board needs the information you want and if it is reasonable it will be on the schedule of reporting.

    Submitted on .
  6. If it can wait till your next meeting, ask your board chair to put it on the agenda.

    Submitted on .

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