SFUSD School Board Accountability
As a parent organization representing a diverse array of San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) families and beyond, from every walk of life throughout San Francisco, we are here to help San Francisco voters understand the importance of the Board of Education (BOE). SF Parent Action shares a Board Report program with SF Parent Coalition, our 501c3 sister arm, where primarily parent volunteers watchdog the Board of Education keeping an eye out for good governance indicators and effective leadership focused on student learning and outcomes.
Overview: Board of Education Mission and Objectives
The SFUSD Board of Education (BoE)’s seven members are elected by citywide election of all eligible voters to represent the interests of the constituents of San Francisco, and they have broad oversight over the management of SFUSD’s staff and students. Like any executive body, the BoE is responsible for major personnel decisions - the most critical of which is the selection of the Superintendent. Additionally, the Board determines changes to the district’s curriculum, manages its $1.16 billion budget, and, according to its Official Rule and Procedure, “shall ensure that the district is responsive to the values, beliefs, and priorities of the community.”
We’ve broken down the major responsibilities of the School Board into five categories, to which SF Parent Action believes families should hold our Commissioners accountable on an ongoing basis:
- Prioritize student learning and achievement as its primary focus - In all matters, the Board is expected to bring its attention and focus on the improvement of learning for the children in the district, while maintaining a commitment to equity and lifting up the most marginalized students within our SFUSD community.
- Set the district budget and manage the district’s finances responsibly - The Board has the important responsibility of ensuring the District manages its finances in a manner resulting in its long-term solvency and continued fiscal health.
- Govern professionally, according to the standards set out in its official Rules and Procedures - Board members shall “act with dignity”, “operate openly, with trust and integrity,” and “govern in a dignified and professional manner, treating everyone with civility and respect.” In short, the BOE members should be professionals, and act in a way that their constituents would recognize as such and that would set a positive role model for the district’s students.
- Listen to and incorporate perspectives from the community while setting data-driven, fiscally-responsible Board policies - The Board should “ensure opportunities for the diverse range of views in the community to inform Board deliberations,” and should “respect differences of perspective and style on the Board and among staff, students, parents and the community.” In other words, Board members ensure inclusivity and diversity of opinion to inform decision making, and should not prioritize particular constituencies over others, or ignore the perspectives of any individuals or groups from the community.
- Make prudent personnel decisions that enable the District to perform effectively - The Board shall appoint executive leadership to run the District, and shall “refrain from performing management functions that are the responsibility of the Superintendent and staff.”
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