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Roles and Responsibilites

Roles and Responsibilities of the School Committee*

Those who govern and administer the Commonwealth’s public schools must share a vision, a clear purpose, and the ability and courage to lead.


 Establish and periodically review educational goals and policies for the schools in the district, consistent with the requirements of law and the statewide goals and standards established by the Board of Education.   


  Review and approve a budget for education in the district according to a process and timeline developed with the superintendent.  Work to ensure that necessary funds are appropriated for the district and that a balance is maintained between needs and resources in the distribution of available monies. 


 Appoint the superintendent, and upon the superintendent’s recommendation appoint the assistant superintendent, school business manager, administrator of special education, school physician(s), and legal counsel.  Set compensation for superintendent and overall compensation limits for assistant/associate superintendents, school business administrator, administrator of special education, school physicians and registered nurses, legal counsel, school principals and other administrators not assigned to particular schools.  Prescribe additional qualifications for educator positions, beyond basic certification.  Discipline or terminate the employment of the superintendent, in accordance with state law and the terms of the contract of employment.  


Act as employer of school employees for collective bargaining purposes.  Designate a negotiator or negotiating team.  Receive advice from superintendent about educational consequences of bargaining positions.


Establish, upon the recommendation of the superintendent, the performance standards for teachers and other employees of the school district.  Evaluate the performance of the superintendent.  Conduct self-evaluation of the committee’s effectiveness in meeting its stated goals and performing its role in public school governance. 


Adopt a professional development plan for all principals, teachers and other professional staff employed by the district.   Provide and encourage resources for school committee professional development programs that will enable school leaders to have the knowledge and skills required to provide effective policy leadership for the school system. 


Review and approve an annual school improvement plan for each school in the district.  Provide and encourage resources for school council professional development programs that will enable council members to have the knowledge and skills required to provide effective educational leadership. 


Engage in advocacy on behalf of students and their schools and promote the benefits of a public school system in the community.  Work closely, when appropriate, with other governmental agencies and bodies.  Collaborate with other school committees through state and national school committee associations to let state legislators, members of Congress and all other appropriate state and federal officials know of local concerns and issues. 


Approve major adoption or revision of curriculum and textbooks upon recommendation of the superintendent. 


Establish educational goals and policies for the schools in the district, consistent with the requirement of law and the statewide goals and standards established by the Board of Education.  Delegate to the superintendent the responsibilities for all administrative functions.  Act only as a body as prescribed by law and not as individual members. 


Support the development and promotion of the vision, mission, goals and strategies of the school system.  Review prior to all school committee meetings the information provided by the superintendent and when possible, communicate any questions or concerns to the superintendent prior to the meeting to provide an opportunity for a response.  Consult and confer with the superintendent on all matters as they arise that concern the school system, and on which the school committee may take actions.  Maintain open communication between the community and the schools by scheduling public meetings on a regular basis.  Support the superintendent in all matters that conform to committee policy. 


* excerpted from “Roles and Responsibilities for School Committees and Superintendents” – Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Boston, MA