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Public School's Answer To School Districts

May 10, 2008
School districts are the American Way of managing the local public school system. These bodies make sure that the public schools are functioning properly.

In the United States of America, the daily management of education falls on one body: the school district. These divisions or groups are a kind of specially appointed body that serves to govern the local public schools that cater to both primary and secondary students.

A school district has complete control over matters of education in its jurisdiction. It has the ability to impose taxes and claim eminent domain as long as it is within its own territory. It often does not have a direct connection with the local municipal government.

A school district is formed originally by geographic locations. A city, or adjacent cities, may form one district. The ruling body of a school district is either appointed by the districts government officials or directly elected by their peers. The legislative body is called a school board, school committee or a board of trustees. Once all the slots in the school board are filled, they then appoint a superintendent. The superintendent is often one who has experience with the public education system such as a former public school administrator.

The superintendent acts as the chief executive for the school board, meaning he or she will have to act on school district issues in a daily basis. The school board has the power to formulate and implement rules on certain employee or student issues. In the case there is a serious matter concerning either a public school employee or a pupil, the school board is able to convene as a body and try the case as well as enforce a decision.

School boards are not common in all the 50 states of the USA. There are some states wherein the supervision of the public schools fall immediately on the local government, often at the county level, or an equivalent body, Maryland and Baltimore are very good examples of this case. However, some states employ both kinds of public school governance. In the state of New York, there exist both school systems that are influenced by the local government and independent school districts.

According to a survey done by the United States Census Bureau in 2002, there are 13,506 school districts throughout the country, 178 of which are dependent on the state government and 1,330 of which are dependent on the local government.

Aside from managing the public school system, school boards also have control over the several facilities and suppliers necessary to run the schools properly. This means that the school committee oversees the operation of school bus yards, warehouses, kitchens and laundry. Other large school districts also have television statements, medical clinics as well as roving campus police in the premises.

School districts are not common in the rest of the world. The structure of American school districts is quite distinct from other public school structures. In fact, policies and kinds of school districts vary on a state-by-state basis. The independence of the school districts still depends on the states' policies. Some states allow a fully independent school board where while others restrict the influence and control of the school districts over their jurisdiction.
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