Who are our School Directors?
The West Jefferson Hills Board of School Directors is a board of volunteer members who are elected officials. However, they are also residents of the community: our relatives, our neighbors, our community coaches, our PTA volunteers, and our friends, who are devoted to the District’s educational standard for excellence for our children.
What is a School Board?
The School Board is a legislative body of residents, who serve the district for a four-year term. This is an elected position, reflective of the constituents within the school district’s community. School Directors are both state and local officials. Though elected locally, they serve on behalf of the State Legislature. School Boards are units of local government, the only such unit spelled out in the State Constitution. School Boards are legislative bodies empowered to set policy within the framework of the statutes enacted by the legislature. School Directors represent the interest of the general public, which includes the children in the schools. School Directors bring to the table a variety of professional, educational, and community experiences.
Are School Directors paid for their services?
Board members are volunteers.
What are the characteristics of an effective School Director?
A deep desire to serve children
A strong belief in the value of public schools
A commitment to maintaining local control of public education
The ability to work as part of a team
The ability to engage in open discussion
A willingness to support the decisions of majority consensus
A willingness to spend the time required to become informed and to participate in effective school board meetings
A recognition that the school district is probably one of the largest businesses and employers in the community
The acceptance of the responsibility for overseeing a well-managed enterprise
A professional respect for district staff
An effective School Director possesses the following qualities:
What are the responsibilities of a School Director?
The School Board is primarily responsible for the education of our district’s 3,000 students in grades Kindergarten through 12. School Directors serve as co-partners with the state legislature and are designated by school law to administer the school system, which includes the vested authority to establish, equip, furnish, operate, and maintain the public schools.
Working with the District’s Superintendent, Administrators, and Director of Finance, they are also responsible for financial decisions and fiscal accountability. As a group, the board is not an administrative body. Their role and responsibilities directly affect our educational structure as the data proves that effective schools cannot be maintained without an effective School Board.
What functions does the School Board serve?
- The central responsibility of a board, both in theory and in law, is to serve as the policy-setting body. The idea of local control of education means that the policies governing the operation of schools are to be formulated in response to local needs and desires. Policy means actions of the board that set written goals and objectives for the schools.
Planning - Boards are required to engage in long-range planning by regulations of the Board of Education. Appropriate reports of the results of this planning must be filled with the Department of Education.
Evaluating Results - The board’s responsibility includes evaluating the results of such planning. Evaluation leads to more planning and occurs both formally and informally. Board members continuously receive information in order to keep up-to-date on a broad range of activities that are in progress regarding board policy proclamations.
(Information obtained from What is a School Board and Responsibilities and Functions of Local School Boards, published by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association)
When are the School Board meetings and how are they conducted?
The West Jefferson Hills School District Board of School Directors meets the third and fourth Tuesday of the month in the cafeteria at Thomas Jefferson High School. The first meeting is referred to as the Work Session, where agenda items are publicly discussed; and the second meeting is referred to as the Regular Meeting, at which time the discussed agenda items are voted upon. Public comment can be made at all public meetings during that designated portion of the agenda. The Board approves an agenda item if it receives a majority of votes. Each Board member is entitled to vote upon agenda items as presented or to motion to alter the presented item. All voting is done publicly and recorded by the Board Secretary.