As I work with Catholic Schools throughout the United States I am frequently presented with scenarios of conflict between school leaders and board members. The dysfunction in such a relationship can be destructive to the Faith community we call the Catholic school. In the article below, I attempt to articulate the primary roles, responsibilities and focus of the Chief administrator of a Catholic School, or a Catholic School system and the Governing Board. It is my hope that it will be used widely to clarify roles and responsibilities before the scenarios of conflict emerge.
For most Catholic schools, the school Board exists primarily to formulate policy and give strategic direction to the school (i.e., plan). The Board is charged with furthering the school’s mission and ensuring the school’s success. The Board’s core activity is planning, and the Board’s primary constituency is not today’s students but the students of the future.
The 8 minimal functions of a Catholic school Board includes:
1. Developing a strategic plan
2. Policy development
3. Hiring the chief administrator
4. Approving an annual budget
5. Overseeing financial accountability
6. Establishing just compensation for employees
7. Set tuition
8. Ensuring that in broad terms the school is fulfilling its mission.