School board members help make many of the most important local decisions for Arkansas’ public schools. No elected officials are closer to the people they represent. Since 2008, Report Card proudly has been the only publication targeted to these public servants.
Are you thinking about serving as an Arkansas school board member? ASBA Candidate Guide is a brochure that briefly outlines roles and responsibilities board members are expected to fulfill.
In the summer of 2020 ASBA updated information regarding school board service in a manual used during the New Board Member Institute. The new manual, School Board Basics for New Board Members, updates board roles and responsibilities from the previous ASBA Handbook.
The Handbook for Arkansas School Board Members contains some information not included in the new School Board Basics for New Board Members, such as making policy and Key Work of School Boards.
Employing the Superintendent is one of the school board’s most important duties. Whether your board is negotiating a contract for a new superintendent or renegotiating a veteran superintendent’s contract, ASBA encourages you to seek legal advice in developing the employment contract. Lawyers with expertise in education and who understand the relationships among local school districts, school boards and superintendents are especially helpful.
ASBA has drafted a model contract that can be used as a resource for school boards and superintendents. The footnotes are particularly helpful, and should be read carefully; not every provision in the model contract is a good fit for every district. The Association recommends that a licensed attorney be consulted regarding the drafting and negotiation of any contract between a school district and its superintendent. Click here to view the latest version of ASBA’s model contract.
If a school board member has a question about a board agenda item, should he pick up the phone and call a fellow board member to discuss the matter? Seems harmless, right? Actually, this is a misdemeanor under Arkansas law.
Board members need to be clear on the law related to communication among board members to avoid violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The FOIA provides guidance on public meetings and access to public records. School boards and superintendents should be familiar with the requirements of the FOIA and conduct meetings in accordance with its requirements. Additionally, public requests for information should be handled in accordance with the FOIA.
The 15th edition of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook, published in 2012 in collaboration with the Arkansas Governor’s Office, Attorney General and numerous professional associations, is linked here for handy reference.