A Message About Our Board

Paso Robles Joint Unified School Board
From left to right:
Field Gibson (President), Tim Gearhart (Trustee), Dave Lambert (Trustee), Joan Summers (Trustee),
Chris Williams (Superintendent), Dr. Kathleen Hall (Trustee), Joel Peterson (Clerk), Chris Bausch (Trustee)

Every local school district in California is part of a statewide system.  Local school boards derive their authority from state law.  Their governance is guided by the State Board of Education, the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the California Legislature.


There are over 1,000 local school districts in California, each with its own elected board.  Essentially, each board's responsibility is to make ample provisions for the education of all children.  This is the board's legal mandate.  The mission of the public schools is to educate each and every child to achieve his or her potential.  This mission can be achieved only in the context of the new realities of our society and the world at large.  In our time of social, economic, technological, and geopolitical turbulence, the local school board's responsibility is greater than ever.


Acting on behalf of the people of each community, the local school board's leadership role is a governance role.  School boards govern, administrators implement.  Members of the board fulfill their governance role in four ways:


Vision – The board, with extensive participation by the community, envisions the community's educational future and then formulates the goals, defines the outcomes, and sets the course for its public schools.  This is done within the context of racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, and with a commitment to educational excellence and equity for all children.


Structure – To achieve its vision, the board establishes a structure that reflects local circumstances and creates an environment designed to ensure all students the opportunity to attain their maximum potential through a sound organizational framework.  The board employs a superintendent, adopts missions and goals in harmony with its vision through a strategic planning process, develops and approves policies, formulates budgets, and sets high instructional standards for students and staff.  Knowing that schools alone can't meet every need, the board collaborates with families, community organizations, and other public and private agencies for the benefit of the whole child.  The board also nurtures a climate conducive to change.


Accountability – Because the board is accountable to the local community, there is continuous assessment of all conditions affecting education.  Thus, student achievement is monitored, program corrections are made when necessary, the public is kept informed about programs and progress, staff and board training is provided, and governance and legal responsibilities are fulfilled.  The primary focus of the schools is on student achievement and on how everything in schools can improve that achievement.


Advocacy – The board serves as education's key advocate on behalf of students and their schools in the community.  It advances the community's vision for its schools, pursues its goals, encourages progress, energizes systemic change, and deals with children as whole persons in a diversified society.  Student achievement is the bottom line for school boards.  Consequently, it is the local school board that can best bring together all of the community – parents, community groups, and all others concerned about schooling – in an effective and responsible way.