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 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 including establishing just compensation and tuition pricing
6. Ensuring that in broad terms the school is fulfilling its mission
The Board members should NOT be involved in the day-to-day operations of the school. Such daily practical matters should be handled directly by the Chief Administrator of the school. The primary responsibility of the chief administrator is to:
- Implement the policies established by the board.
- Oversee the implementation of the curriculum and classroom management.
- Evaluate, hire and fire staff within the financial constraints determined by the Board.
The critical distinction between the roles of the Board and the Chief Administrator is that the Board controls the big picture and gives direction to the Chief Administrator, who implements policy with considerable discretion. The Board is responsible for approving the annual budget, for developing a long-term strategic plan, and for the evaluation and the hiring and firing the Head of the school. The school Head handles the day-to-day operations of the school, typically without any Board intervention or input.