Cathy Allen
St. Mary's County Board of Education
St. Mary's County Board of Education Member

About School Boards

School Boards in Maryland are non-partisan.  Most are elected, with several either appointed or an elected/appointed hybrid.  The St. Mary's County Board of Education is an elected board consisting of five members. Four members represent the four commissioner districts with the fifth member in an at-large seat.  Three of the seats are elected in the Presidential cycle and two are elected in the Gubernatorial cycle.
School Boards have three primary roles:  executive, legislative and judicial. They are responsible for carrying out the rules, regulations and policies of the State Board of Education; maintaining a reasonably uniform system of public schools within their jurisdiction; and determining the educational policies of the school system in consultation with the superintendent.  The Board is responsible for hiring and overseeing the superintendent.  The Board also approves the system budget.  It is also responsible for ensuring that all applicable federal, state and local laws as well as board policies are enforced.  The Board's judicial role is to hear student and staff appeals.  
The Board has oversight responsibility for the school system.  It is the superintendent who oversees the day to day operations of the system. 
In short, the Board's role is to ask 'what' questions and the superintendent's role is to take responsibility for 'how'. State law gives the superintendent, as well as the board, specific duties.  We ask 'what can be done to improve student achievement' and the superintendent proposes programs, staffing and other supports that will address the issue.  It is then up to the Board to authorize the superintendent to implement the recommendations.
Board service requires study, preparation, professional development, time, and an ability to work as part of a team.  It is both challenging and personally rewarding.  It is democracy and civic engagement in action.

By Authority Cathy Allen, Candidate
Bradford J. Allen, Treasurer

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