This January during School Board Recognition Month, CSBA salutes local educational agency boards and encourages communities around California to do the same. Roughly 5,100 California school board trustees — the largest group of elected officials in the state — aid in supporting student success by establishing policy priorities and benchmarks. Trustees provide a critical accountability link between schools and the community and offer a level of accessibility to voters that is unrivaled by other public officeholders. CSBA encourages LEAs, community organizations, mayors and other local officials to designate January as a time to recognize their hard-working board members and educate the public about the important role that school boards play in schools and communities.
From the first public school house in an old church in San Francisco in 1850, California’s boards of education have grown to oversee more than 1,000 school districts and county offices of education in California. From the four students in San Benito County’s Panoche Elementary School District to the nearly 600,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, trustees provide critical support for California’s 6 million public school students.
In addition to overseeing educational quality at school districts and county offices of education, these trustees also take on a range of other duties. This includes decision-making and direction on budgets, staffing, facilities upkeep and development, food services and more.
The last two years have been especially challenging for everyone, including school board members, who pay the utmost attention to follow ever-changing guidelines and safety mitigation measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These very measures that are meant to keep students and staff safe and learning have attracted a sometimes-hostile public to board meetings, leading to the inability of trustees to conduct business on behalf of schools, students and the community. Additional debates on how to teach our nation’s history have also played out in boardrooms. Through it all, trustees have stood strong in their resolve to support California’s students and create and maintain a safe and supportive learning environment.
In appreciation of the important role school board members play in shaping the education landscape of California, CSBA salutes the state’s hard working trustees during January’s School Board Recognition Month. As part of this tribute, CSBA will spotlight school boards and their contributions all month long.
CSBA has also created sample materials to make it easier for those in your community to recognize and celebrate the important work of school board members: