School Board Case Studies

May 14, 2012
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School Board Case Studies takes a close look at school boards and how the local business community can make them more accountable, effective, and focused on the needs of students.

This 13-city case study highlights both rural and urban districts with diverse school boards and the extent to which the business community has played a role in school governance. School boards can be responsible for everything from approving performance evaluation systems, hiring district leadership, and negotiating union contracts, to developing and enforcing budgets. Their decisions have consequences for local school systems, students, and quality of the local workforce. However, there is limited information available about how they function. Now, given the recent trend toward increased local control, school boards are likely to have increased authority over accountability decisions in the future.

These case studies show that business leaders—whether as individuals or operating through organizations such as local chambers of commerce, foundations, or public education funds—can play a critical role in supporting effective school board governance and reforms that improve student achievement. Business leaders have played an important role in creating conditions for success in Long Beach, Austin, and Duval County, among others. The case studies yield several lessons about how business leaders can play a productive role.

Download individual case studies:

Atlanta, Georgia

Austin, Texas

Bismarck, North Dakota

Dayton, Ohio

Denver, Colorado

Detroit, Michigan

Duval County, Florida

Laramie, Wyoming

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California

Newark, New Jersey

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Seattle, Washington

Related:

School Board Candidate Questionnaire

A list of sample nonpartisan questions that voters, editorial boards, or other stakeholders can use to gauge the views and knowledge of school board candidates. These questions, developed in consultation with national education governance and policy experts and school board veterans, can be included in a written questionnaire or asked at public forums. They are designed to be customizable for individual districts and communities, regardless of size or geography.