D97 Board of Education Questions
- How do board responsibilities differ from those of the administration/superintendent?
- How do I bring an issue or concern to the board?
- How do I run for the board?
- What are the duties of individual school board members?
- What are the responsibilities of the school board?
How do board responsibilities differ from those of the administration/superintendent?
The board delegates the authority of the day-to-day management of the school district to the superintendent and holds him or her responsible for using that authority in accordance with board policies. To use a business analogy, the superintendent is the CEO of the district who reports to the board.
How do I bring an issue or concern to the board?
The board welcomes and encourages any and all public input. There are several channels by which members of the public can communicate with the board, including via email (board members can be emailed individually or as a group via [email protected] as well as during the public comment portion of every open board meeting. The board president or his or her designee will respond to any public inquiries, questions, or concerns that include a request for or require a response.
Please keep in mind that many issues or concerns that pertain to daily operations of the district (as opposed to the explicit responsibilities of the board) may be best addressed with the administration. So, for example, if your inquiry is related to a specific class or teacher, we recommend contacting the teacher first, who can refer you to others as needed. If you need further assistance after meeting with the teacher, or have a general question or comment about the school, you should contact the assistant principal or the principal. If you require additional assistance with your inquiry after communicating with the teacher and assistant principal or principal, please contact the superintendent’s office.
How do I run for the board?
We encourage all who are interested to consider running for the board. The board seats are elected in the municipal elections that take place every other year (the next election will be in spring 2015). While the filing deadline is usually the prior December, there are nominating petitions that must be completed by that deadline. With this in mind, we recommend starting the process no later than the October prior to the election. All forms and information about running for the board can be accessed by contacting the Cook County Clerk’s office or the District 97 board secretary.
What are the duties of individual school board members?
Board members are expected to be sufficiently informed and prepared to participate in board meetings and act as a unit on the major areas of board responsibility. In addition to preparation for and attendance at regular board meetings, board members also participate in a multitude of committees (standing and ad hoc), liaison assignments and public outreach roles. The committees are organized to allow board sub-teams to tackle specific issues and projects that would be impractical for the full board to address. The committees then report back and/or bring items for action to be addressed by the full board.
What are the responsibilities of the school board?
In Illinois, school boards are authorized under the Illinois School Code by the General Assembly. Their role is to carry out the Illinois constitutional mandate that the State “shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public education and services” (Article X, Section 1 Constitution of the State of Illinois). Local school boards are elected bodies that provide policy and stewardship to their respective districts, subject to regulation both by laws enacted by the legislature and by the policies and rules of the State Board of Education.
Per the policies of District 97, the board’s main responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Formulating, adopting, and modifying board policies, at its sole discretion, subject only to mandatory collective bargaining agreements and state and federal law.
- Employing a superintendent and other personnel, making employment decisions, dismissing personnel, and establishing an equal employment opportunity policy that prohibits unlawful discrimination.
- Directing, through policy, the superintendent, in his or her charge of the district’s administration.
- Approving the annual budget, tax levies, major expenditures, payment of obligations, annual audit, and other aspects of the district’s financial operation; and making available a statement of financial affairs as provided in state law.
- Entering into contracts using the public bidding procedure when required.
- Indemnifying, protecting, and insuring against any loss or liability of the school district, board members, employees, and agents as provided or authorized by state law.
- Providing, constructing, controlling, and maintaining adequate physical facilities; making school buildings available for use as civil defense shelters; and establishing a resource conservation policy.
- Establishing an equal educational opportunities policy that prohibits unlawful discrimination.
- Approving the curriculum, textbooks, and educational services.
- Evaluating the educational program and approving school improvement and district improvement plans.
- Presenting the district report card and school report card(s) to parents/guardians and the community; these documents report district, school and student performance.
- Establishing and supporting student discipline policies designed to maintain an environment conducive to learning, including deciding individual student suspension or expulsion cases brought before it.
- Defining school attendance boundaries within the district and assigning students to the schools.
- Determining the school year.
- Requiring a moment of silence to recognize veterans during any type of school event held at a district school on November 11.
- Providing student transportation services.
- Entering into joint agreements with other boards to establish cooperative educational programs or provide educational facilities.
- Complying with requirements in the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. Specifically, each individual board member must, if an allegation is raised to the member during an open or closed board meeting that a student is an abused child as defined in the act, direct or cause the board to direct the superintendent or other equivalent school administrator to comply with the act’s requirements concerning the reporting of child abuse.
- Communicating the schools’ activities and operations to the community and representing the needs and desires of the community in educational matters.
The Oak Park Elementary School District 97 Board of Education consists of seven members who are elected at-large by Oak Park voters. The positions are non-partisan, volunteer (unpaid) four-year terms. A president and vice president are elected by the board members every two years to chair the board.