The Board-Superintendent Relationship 1620

The successful operation of schools requires a close, effective working rela­tionship between the board and the superintendent. The relationship must be one of trust, good will and candor. As the legally designated governing body, the board retains final authority within the district. The board exercises those powers that are expressly required by law and those implied by law.  The superintendent is the board's professional advisor to whom the board delegates executive respon­sibility, and such powers as may be required to manage the district in a manner consistent with board policy and state and federal law.

The superintendent, as an executive officer of the board (Secretary), shall be responsible for the administration of the schools under applicable laws and policies of the district.  The board shall delineate the duties of the superintendent and shall use them as the basis for evaluating the superintendent’s performance.  Unless specifically limited, the superintendent may delegate to other staff the exercise of any powers and the discharge of any duties imposed by district policy or a vote of the board.  The delegation of power or duty shall not relieve the superintendent of responsibility for the actions taken under such a delegation.

In order to perform their responsibilities, board members must be familiar with the operations within the schools. The superintendent shall establish communication procedures which can enhance the board member's understanding of student programs and school operations.


Legal References:

RCW   28A.320.010Corporate powers

RCW   28A.330.100   Additional powers of the board (First Class Districts Only)

RCW   28A.400.010   Employment of superintendent--Superintendent’s qualifications, general powers, term, contract renewal

RCW   28A.400.030   Superintendent’s duties

Management Resources: 

Policy & Legal News, February 2013 Policy Revisions


Adoption Date: March 10, 1999

Classification: Optional


The following communications procedures are established:

Staff Communications to the Board. All communications or reports to the board or individual board members from principals, supervisors, teachers, or other staff members shall be submitted through the super­intendent. This shall not deny any staff member's right to appeal to the board regarding administrative decisions, provided that the superinten­dent shall have been notified of the forthcoming appeal and that it is processed according to the applicable proce­dures on complaints and grievances.

Board Communications to Staff. All official communications, policies, and directives of staff interest and concern will be communicated to staff members through the superintendent. The superintendent will employ all such media as are appropriate to keep staff fully informed of the board's priorities, concerns and actions.

Visits to Schools. Individual board members interested in visiting schools or classrooms will make arrangements for visitations through the principals of the various schools. Such visits shall be regarded as expressions of interest in school affairs and not as "inspec­tions" or visits for supervisory or administrative purposes. Official visits by board members will be carried on only under board authori­za­tion and with the full knowledge of staff, including the superintendent, principals and other supervisors.

Social Interaction. Staff and board members share a keen interest in the schools and in education. When they meet at social affairs and other func­tions, informal discussion on such matters as educational trends, issues, and innovations and general district problems can be antici­pated. Discussions of personalities or staff grievances is not appropriate.

Superintendent‑Board Relations

The board shall:

  • *Select the superintendent and delegate him/her all necessary administrative powers.
  • *Adopt policies for the operation of the school system and review administrative procedures.
  • *Provide direction for the educational program.
  • *Review and approve courses of study.
  • *Adopt textbooks and teaching materials.
  • *Review annual report on district programs.
  • *Approve annual budget.
  • *Employ certificated and classified staff upon recommendation of the superintendent.
  • *Authorize the allocation of certificated and classified staff time.
  • *Approve contracts for construction.
  • *Approve payment of vouchers and payroll.
  • *Review monthly fiscal reports.
  • *Approve proposed changes of school plant and facilities.
  • *Approve collective bargaining agreements.
  • *Establish criteria and processes for evaluating staff.
  • *Appoint citizens and staff to serve on special committees.
  • *Serve as final arbitrator for staff, citizens and students.

    The Superintendent shall:

  • *Serve as chief executive officer of the district.
  • *Recommend policies or policy changes to the board and develop procedures which implement board policy.
  • *Provide leadership in the development, operation, supervision and evaluation of the educational program.
  • *Review courses of study.
  • *Recommend textbooks and materials.
  • *Develop annual descriptive guide of district.
  • *Prepare and submit the annual budget.
  • *Recommend candidates for employment as certificated and classified staff.
  • *Recommend staff needs based on student enrollment.
  • *Recommend contracts for major construction.
  • *Recommend payment of vouchers and payroll.
  • *Prepare monthly fiscal reports.
  • *Prepare reports regarding school plant and facilities needs.
  • *Negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
  • *Recommend criteria for evaluating staff.
  • *Recommend formation of ad hoc citizen's committees.
  • *Inform board of appeals and implement any such forthcoming board decisions.

Date: 03/99