School Board 101

What’s the purpose of a school board? 

The board of trustees is tasked with school district governance while taking the advice of the district superintendent, who manages the district using policies that the board has adopted. Trustees serve as a vital link between the public and the school district, and they serve as advocates of public education – not as gatekeepers of curriculum, legislators of what children read in school libraries, or public health experts. Everything a board does is subject to state and federal law as well as the framework of the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). 

What are the roles and responsibilities of a school board in Texas? 

  1. Hire a superintendent. The superintendent has the board of trustees to keep them on track with the goals and initiatives of the district. 
  2. Set goals and priorities for the district. The T-2-4 initiative, which states that every SBISD graduate will attain a technical certificate, military training, or a two- or four-year degree, is a major goal and priority of SBISD, as an example. 
  3. Adopt policies and review for effectiveness. Local school boards adopt policies consistent with state and federal laws as well as with district regulations that help guide the district’s operations.  
  4. Approve the district budget and set the district’s tax rate. The superintendent proposes a budget for the district, and the board has the freedom to adjust and make changes as necessary. The board is also responsible for setting the district’s tax rate, an extremely important function of which many residents aren’t aware. The revenue from the tax rate is what funds the budget, and in turn, the goals of the district.  
  5. Communicate with the community. One of the biggest responsibilities of the board is to advocate for public schools and public education by listening to the community on issues of importance, as well as keeping district residents updated on district goals and progress. 

What are the qualifications of a school board trustee? 

You must be:  

  • A U.S. citizen 
  • 18 or older 
  • Free of any felony convictions 
  • Mentally sound 
  • A resident of the state in which you are running for 12 months continuously, and a resident of the territory in which you are running for six months 
  • Registered to vote in the territory in which you are running 
  • Determined to meet any other criteria set forth by the law for the position of trustee 


Texas School Board’s Roles and Responsibilities (; 
Frequently Asked Questions about Running for School Board February 2022 (