Civics 101: Role of the Board of Education

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Jul 14, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Editor’s Note: The following story is part of a series of stories designed to educate voters on what each elected office does – and in some cases, doesn’t do – for the people of Wilson County.

Members of the school board have a duty to represent the citizens of their district, mainly in the interest of creating policies for the entire school system. Whether it’s the Wilson County Board of Education or the Lebanon Special School District school board, the power of the body lies in its decisions made as a group. On their own, members have little power, but the individuals do have certain responsibilities.

Wilson County’s school board is made up of seven members, and those who run for election must show proof of graduation from high school or completion of a high school equivalent program to qualify. 

The driving role of the board is to create the best possible educational opportunities for the children of Wilson County, within financial limitations. With that driving role in mind, the board has four main functions, policy oversight, budget creation, educational planning and working with the public.

The board creates policies that are then handed to the director of schools for administration to schools. With that, the board also evaluates the policies to see if they are effective, which helps the board plan educational programs and policies for the future.

Budget matters for the board include funding for buildings, staff, materials and equipment, as well as keeping up with growth in the way of seeking out information necessary to the decision of building new schools. The Wilson County Commission also reviews and approves the school board’s budget.

Lastly, the board involves the public in the planning process by listening to the feedback of parents and informing the public about the board is doing.

Individual members are charged with a number of duties relative to the school board. Members of the board of education must:
• be familiar with state school laws, policies and regulations.

• take part in state-mandated training.

• have a general knowledge of educational aims and objectives of the system.

• work harmoniously with other members without trying to either dominate the board or neglect his or her share of the work.

• vote and act impartially for the good of the school system. 

• accept the will of the majority vote and support the resulting action.

• represent the board and school system well to the public.

• refer complaints to the director of schools.

• abstain from individual counsel and action concerning staff members. 

On Aug. 2, Wilson County voters will elect Wilson County school board members in zones 2, 4, 6 and 7 for the next four years. Zone 2 candidates include incumbent Bill Robinson, Matthew Mock and David Burks. Zone 4 candidates include incumbent Linda Armistead and Maurisa Pasick. Zone 6 candidates include incumbent Johnie Payton and Kimberly McGee. Zone 7 candidates include incumbent Gwynne Queener, Chad Karl and James “Rusty” Keith. Incumbent Steve Jones is unopposed as a Lebanon Special School District at-large member. Early voting began Friday and ends July 28.


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