Recall mania! What does a school board really do?

by Carol Kocivar | November 7, 2021 | 1 Comment
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Public anger finds a target

Suddenly, school boards are all over the news. In normal circumstances, the attention might be welcome and productive. Lately, a lot of it has been bizarre and disruptive, as ridiculed by Saturday Night Live. Alas, some of the disruption has been no joking matter.

In September, the California School Boards Association appealed to Governor Newsom for help, reporting that “We are increasingly witnessing active attempts to undermine the democratic process through intimidation, threats, and violence.”

In October, the US Attorney General directed the FBI to evaluate the situation and ensure that there are “dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.”

California’s constitution makes it uncommonly easy to initiate the recall of an elected official with a petition, and school board members are facing recall attempts at rates never seen before, as reported by Ballotpedia.

In the midst of all of this, something unfamiliar is happening: people are paying attention to school boards. Lots of people may be a little fuzzy about the responsibilities of school boards and the rules that govern their meetings. In educational lingo, this is a teachable moment.

We’ve got you covered. Here are resources to share with your school community.

What do school boards do?

Local school boards are the heart of California's public school system. What do they actually do? Check out School Boards Demystified. One of our most-read posts, it lays out the basics briefly.

How do open school board meetings work?

The Brown Act, California's open meeting law, plays a big role in how school boards work, even in a pandemic. If you want to influence your board or understand how change happens, you need to understand the rules.

Running for school board

Thinking of running for school board, or helping someone else do so? Here's what you need to know first, practically speaking, including how to determine whether you are eligible.

What’s it like in the school board hot seat?

The pandemic did not come with an instruction manual. School board members have been in the hot seat. We asked two veteran school board members to share their experiences about decision-making under the stress of the pandemic.

School boards govern school districts. What are school districts?

No matter where a child lives in the state of California, there is a public school district obligated to provide a free public education. This post explains how school districts fit into the system, alongside county offices of education, charter schools and more.

What does “normal” look like for a school board?

In normal times, there is an annual rhythm to the work of a school board, even in summer. This post explains some of the concerns that school board members tackle when they aren’t responding to crazy times.

Questions & Comments

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user avatar
Ann Adam November 8, 2021 at 8:41 pm
The schools boards members are members of the community are elected by the community and should be listening to and implementing the wishes of the community after appropriate development with the public being informed & involved. It IS public money that pays for the education! ! ! I am a 3rd generation Californian born, raised, educated there and I also taught there and later volunteered in "children at risk" programs and the SARB Board! I remember when CA's K thru' 12 was always in the top 4 in the U.S. AND the PTA/PTSA was extremely active & helpful while being independent as were the teachers. Neither were hand servants to others! The top concern was always the children and teaching them how to learn, along with their basic curriculum at their appropriate development level. Parents were always in charge of their children unless the parents needed to be reported to Child Protective Services, which would then be done. Local control needs to be returned! ! !
©2003-2021 Jeff Camp
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