School Governance - Responding to Concerns About School Board Members
Open Government; Ethics of Elected Board Members
Members of the board of trustees of independent school districts are elected public officials and as such, they are subject to the applicable state laws under the Texas Government Code. This Office frequently receives inquiries related to open government issues such as open meetings, public information (open records), nepotism, public disclosure of conflicts of interest, and political activities. These matters are under the jurisdiction and authority of the district or county attorney in the county in which the board member resides. Open government resources and technical assistance is available from the Office of the Attorney General.
Board Member Elections
The Elections Division of the Secretary of State's Office provides assistance related to proper conduct of elections. This includes residency, primary election funding, and legal interpretations of election laws to election officials.
Board Member Duties under the Texas Education Code
Some powers and duties of the school district’s board of trustees are permissive while others are required by school law. In general, the board is required to:
- determine the rate of tax to be levied, if a specific rate of tax is not adopted at an election (TEC §11.152)
- complete the training required by the SBOE (TEC §11.159)
- adopt a policy providing for the employment and duties of district personnel (TEC §11.1513)
- limit redundant requests for information and reports that a classroom teacher is required to prepare (TEC §11.164)
Complaints alleging violations of TEC requirements must be signed and written. Additionally, documentation and facts on which the allegations are based must be included with the complaint. The complaint should be mailed to TEA Complaints Management; 1701 N. Congress Ave.; Austin, TX 78701-1494.
TEA Special Accreditation Investigations for School Governance Matters
TEA’s authority to investigate school governance matters of an independent school district is under Chapter 39; Subchapter D. Sanctions;Special Accreditation Investigation (TEC §39.057). Specifically, the Commissioner of Education authorizes a special accreditation investigation, under TEC §39.057(a)(6), in response to conflict between members of the board of trustees or between the board and the district administration if it appears that the conflict involves a violation of a duty of the board members or the administration that is clearly defined in the TEC.
In making a recommendation to the Commissioner of Education, agency staff reviews comprehensive and relevant information in relation to the district or charter school's accountability and performance measures.
Ron Rowell, Director
Governance and Waivers
1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Telephone: (512) 463-9623 l Fax: (512) 475-3665
Page last modified on 12/14/2012.