The roles and responsibilities of the Board

What is the Fargo Board of Education? What do its members do? If you are a parent of the Fargo Public Schools, a student or a constituent, do you know how your elected officials are working for you?

Fargo Public Schools has had a Board of Education (its formal name) since the founding of its first public school in 1874. (It became a nine-member board in 1885.) Since the beginning, its top priority has been student achievement. The Board has only one employee that it supervises – the superintendent of schools, effectively the CEO of the school district. Its decisions as a group are binding on that one individual.

The Board’s primary role is governance, with student achievement as the central focus. Its responsibilities are many – just a few of them include managing the superintendency; fiscal oversight; setting District plans and goals; providing for program development; the adoption of instructional, administrative and operating policies; review and evaluation; and advocating on behalf of students and schools.

The nine members of the Fargo School Board all serve regular (and ad hoc) committee assignments, with representatives from the administration. The Board’s regular committees that meet annually on at least a quarterly basis are: Communications, Governance, Governmental Affairs, and Planning. (One ad hoc committee currently meeting is the Long Range Facility Plan committee. Another, the Negotiations committee, will begin meeting early in 2013.) Board members also serve as liaisons to individual school buildings, and as designated FPS representatives on the boards and committees of various community organizations.

Information about each Board member, as well as their committee, building and community assignments, is maintained in the Public Information Warehouse (PIW) section of the District’s website. The PIW also hosts the agendas and minutes of Board and committee business, plans and policies, operational and financial documents, and additional information.

As elected servants of the District’s taxpayers, one of the goals of the Board is to be as transparent about its business as possible. The exemptions from North Dakota Open Meetings Law are short in number, and some are only temporary. Closed meetings, also known as “executive session,” are used when the legal authority exists to close them. Examples include litigation, confidential economic development information, contract negotiations, and disciplinary matters. (See A Citizen’s Guide to North Dakota’s Open Meetings and Open Records Laws, published by the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office, for more information.)

Since 2010, the Board’s meetings have been videotaped and are available to review online, courtesy of The People’s Press Project.

Want to subscribe to notifications by the Board? All interested citizens may subscribe to Board meeting notifications, which will alert them via email or RSS feed to new document postings in the PIW. Visit the Board Meetings index webpage and select the Email link at the bottom of the webpage.

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