The Scott County Board of Education
The local school board is comprised of 1 member from each of the 7 voting districts in Scott County. Board members are elected to 4 year terms, with elections occurring every 2 years. Members from the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th district were recently elected for the 2016-2020 term. Members from the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 7th districts are currently serving the 2014-2018 term.
The Scott County Board of Education is currently a Tennessee School Boards Assocation "Board of Distinction." This designation recognizes outstanding performance by a school board for their work.
What is a School Board?
The local board of education is a policy-making legislative body of which the individual member is an official of the state. Except during an official meeting, a board member has no more power, authority or jurisdiction over school matters than any other citizen in the community.
A school board's primary duty is to provide the opportunity for the best and most appropriate education for all children entrusted to its care.
No greater honor can be bestowed upon a citizen than membership on a local school board. The office calls for the highest character and a dedicated interest in the welfare of all children, youth and adults in the community. The best, most capable and most farsighted citizens of each community should be drafted to serve on the school board. To be a school board member is to serve the future of your community, state, nation and world.
Who is Eligible?
In order to be eligible to be elected to a Tennessee school board, one must be:
- A citizen of Tennessee
- At least 18 years old
- A resident of the school district
- A high school graduate (or G.E.D.)
- A registered voter in the county
Running for Office
To become a school board candidate, you must:
- File a petition signed by at least 25 qualified voters of the school district. You may pick up a petition at your local election commission office. The signed petition must be filed by the deadline established by the election commission of the county in which you are running for school board member.
- Show evidence of a high school diploma or G.E.D.
Once you're a candidate
The Campaign Financial Disclosure Act of 1980 requires all candidates for public office to file a report of campaign contributions and expenditures. An Appointment of Treasurers Form must be filed with the county election commission.
Pursuant to Comprehensive Governmental Ethics Reform Act of 2006 all local public officeholders and all candidates for public office, including school board members must file a "Statement of Disclosure of Interest" with the Tennessee Ethics Commission by January 31. The failure to submit the required disclosure can result in the imposition of civil penalties up to $10,000, so it is very important that all board members file with the Ethics Commission. Once submitted to the Commission, the statements of disclosure must be updated by January 31 of each year thereafter; however, if there have been no changes since the previous statement was filed, only minor additional reporting is required. The reporting form may be found on the Tennessee Ethics Commission website at http://www.state.tn.us/sos/tec/forms/ss-8005.pdf . If you have any questions or trouble downloading the document, you can contact the Ethics Commission at 615/253-8634.
Members of city, special school district, and county boards of education are elected by popular vote, in non-partisan elections, to staggered four-year terms of office. Boards of special school districts are to be elected pursuant to the provisions of private acts establishing such systems, and city school boards may be elected by district or at large.
Compensation for school board members is set by the organizing authority (county commission, city council, the Legislature, etc.) but is subject to the amount set by state law. Members may not lawfully receive compensation for services other than those of attending the regular and special meetings of the board.
Duties of a School Board
The two basic premises of school board operations are:
- The board is a corporate body. The authority of a board member includes expressing an opinion and casting a vote in a board meeting. Outside a board meeting, a board member has no authority over school matters.
- The board is a policy-making body. The board speaks through policy. Matters which the board chooses not to address through policy are left to the discretion of the Director of Schools. The school board makes policy and the Director of Schools carries out policy.
In addition, the Legislature has specified the following mandatory duties:
Management and Control. The board of education is to manage and control all public schools established under its jurisdiction. This gives the board of education the primary authority over school matters, but management responsibilities are delegated to the Director of Schools.
Employment. The board has the duty to:
- appoint the Director of Schools
- set salaries for employees;
- grant tenure to employees;
- approve evaluation plans for employees; and
- hold dismissal hearings when appropriate.
Purchasing. The board may purchase supplies, furniture, fixtures and materials of every kind. All expenditures for such purchases estimated to exceed $10,000 must be made by competitive bids.
Budget Preparation. The Board of Education is required to prepare a budget and to submit it to the appropriate legislative body.
Students. The Board of Education has several duties regarding students. The Education Code gives the board the duty to discipline students after a hearing and the duty to establish standards and policies governing student attendance.
Policies. Local boards of education are required to compile and publish an official policy manual.
Mandated School Board Training
State Board of Education Rules and Regulations require each member of a local board of education to participate annually in seven hours of training provided through the School Board Academy. All board members must complete the basic core modules (Policy, Board / Director Relations, Vision, Advocacy and Finance). Any local board member who fails to attend training may be removed from office.
New school board members must attend a two-day Orientation session in Nashville, plus a seven-hour training session in their first year. Upon completion of each required session, board members will receive Academy credit and $75 stipend from the State Department of Education.
What Makes a Good Board Member?
Effective school board members share a number of common characteristics, but it's important to realize they did not become effective the instant they were elected. Many of these qualities are acquired through experience and are important to consider:
- A conviction that public education is important
- The ability to make decisions
- Loyalty to the democratic process
- Time and energy to devote to board business
- Ability to accept the will of the majority
- Professional respect for district staff
- Ability to communicate well with others
For More Information Visit The Tennessee School Board Association Website at www.tsba.net