Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-04-2019, 10:37 PM
Urbanredneck is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,800

Question for Non-Americans - School Boards?

It's election time here in the US. No, not for president but local school boards.

Here in the US school districts are run by an elected body of citizens known as a school board. These boards make much of the budget decisions and work and hire/fire school superintendents who are the everyday "managers". The board goes thru the district budget line by line and will often make decisions like on amount and quality of say toilet paper or decide on a renovation or roof repair. The boards generally leave everyday decisions to the superintendents like dealing with teachers. The size and composition of school boards is different depending on the size of the district but generally members are from each section or area the district. Candidates have to "run" for the offices just like a candidate for say a city position.

My question - in other countries are schools run by an elected body like a school board?
Old 10-04-2019, 11:00 PM
JRDelirious is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Displaced
Posts: 15,962
Note: this is not even universal in all the US. There are US jurisdictions where the school district is a direct dependency of the Municipal/County or State government and may or may not have an elected board.

The independent school districts that exist in much of the US serve as an instrument to finance schools by having a taxation authority independent from that of the state/county/municipality and to consolidate services for communities too small to sustain their own schools.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 10-04-2019 at 11:02 PM.
Old 10-04-2019, 11:03 PM
dalej42 is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 14,561
In Chicago, the school board is appointed by the mayor. The CTU would love an elected school board so they can get their puppets elected
Twitter:@Stardales IG:@Dalej42
Old 10-05-2019, 03:07 AM
kambuckta is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Pilbara, Australia.
Posts: 10,097
Australia, no. Our public (state) schools are run and funded by the state governments who also oversee hospitals, roads and sundry other services.
Old 10-05-2019, 05:46 AM
FinsToTheLeft is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 561
Not sure about other provinces, but in Ontario school boards are elected. There are actually 4 parallel systems - English, English Catholic, French, and French Catholic. Unless you fit into one of the other groups, your default is the English board that you vote for.

The bigger issue in Ontario is that funding is all set at the provincial level so the local board administer the local schools, hire staff, and develop local programs but the budgets are out of their control. School trustee board is essentially a part time job paying under $30,000 in Toronto, although it as little as $5,000 in other areas.
Old 10-05-2019, 07:28 AM
Filbert is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,650
In England- no, we don't have anything like that. Funding is largely at a national level, aside from fundraising for extras, which may well be organised by the PTA, though it may also come from sponsors or other bodies (most notably the Church of England, especially at primary level). There may be extra allocations for schools in deprived areas or with other special requirements, but the decision is not made locally, nor is the funding raised locally (bake sales and the like excepted).

Nor do we have superintendants; schools have governors or trustees, who are unpaid volunteers, usually from the local area (they can even be students!), who have a say in school decisions, including budget decisions. There's not normally an election for them, they typically apply to and are approved by the school. There's also a national body, OFSTED, which is responsible for inspecting schools, which has the power to, in extreme cases, close a school down, though it usually makes recommendations for improvement. They don't control the funding, although decisions made by them can affect government funding (for example, some funding may only be available for specific purposes, like running particular courses, if the school gets a high enough OFSTED rating).
Old 10-05-2019, 07:39 AM
penultima thule is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 3,104
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
Australia, no. Our public (state) schools are run and funded by the state governments who also oversee hospitals, roads and sundry other services.
All schools that I am aware of have a P&C (Parents &Citizens) whose primary role is supplementary funds raising and meeting with the Principal or Deputy regularly for community feedback.
School policy is determined by the state education department who is the employer of the school teaching and support staff.
Old 10-05-2019, 12:55 PM
ctnguy is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 940
In South Africa, no. Public schools are funded and run by the provincial government, and curriculum decisions are made by the national or provincial Department of Education.

Each public school has a School Governing Body (SGB) which is elected by parents, staff and (in high schools) students. (Parents are always a majority of SGB members.) The SGB has some control over admissions policy, language policy, and disciplinary policy (all of which can at times be very controversial). The SGB also has a say in the appointment of teachers, and in wealthier areas may have the funds to employ extra teachers on top of the number employed for the school by the provincial DoE.
Old 10-05-2019, 02:17 PM
Nava is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 42,737
In Spain the structure of the board will vary by school; for public schools, it varies by region. In general, it includes the Director of the School (it may or may not also include the Secretary* and/or the Treasurer), several parents, several teachers and often one member who's part of non-teaching personnel. Workers are elected by their colleagues, parents by the parents.

Funding for public schools comes from the regional budgets; the national curriculum can be tweaked by each region within limits defined by the current National Education Law (exact name and/or nick vary with each full review). Schools which are privately owned but working within the public system ("concertados") must fulfill the corresponding regional curriculum but can add more stuff on top. Concertados normally charge tuition and may charge additional fees for one-shot activities (for example, a "bus fee" for a once-a-year, voluntary trip; if the trip is required they can't charge).

* In the Spanish school system, these officers are secretaries of the school and not of the director. They handle functions which in the US are often separated into Admissions and Registrar offices.
Old 10-05-2019, 02:17 PM
Hari Seldon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 13,067
In Quebec the government is about to abolish elected school boards on the grounds that very few people vote in the elections. I know I haven't voted in the school board elections that have been held since I became a citizen. I have no kids in school and have no idea what, if any, issues there are. This, despite the fact that in 1982-84 I was a non-voting member of the school as a representative of parents. But then I had a kid in school, knew the issues and knew whom to vote for (but I was then not a citizen and couldn't vote). But I went to all the board meeting, including the closed ones and the committees. It was interesting. We made decisions on personnel and whatever policies we were allowed to (basic educational issues were done at the Ministry of Education level). Had I been eligible, I likely would have run for the board. School boards were a frequent mechanism for starting a political career. At least one PM of Canada started her political career that way.

We were paid, something like $3000 plus an untaxed expense allowance of about $1500. My expenses (essentially gas to drive the meetings) were negligible, so the latter was pure gravy.

In my day, there were 15 board members (plus two parent reps) and no identifiable parties. Then the province increased the number to 23 and suddenly parties appeared. I wonder whether there is a tipping point around 20 in any legislative body.
Old 10-05-2019, 02:25 PM
TriPolar is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 40,712
Here in RI our schools are run by town and city government. In NY and PA there were local school boards independent of other government. In NY this was turning into a money hole, one school district contained portions of at least 4 different towns in 2 different counties. With no tie to the local politics of each town or county there was no organized political control of the board. This is a general problem with local taxing authorities because they can fly under the radar of the normal political process.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017