AllentownSchool District

Roles & Responsibilities of a School Board

A school board is a legislative body of citizens called school directors, who are elected locally by the district's citizens. School board directors serve as agents of the state legislature. Each board consists of nine members who serve four-year terms of office, without pay. School directors, although locally elected, are really state officials, co-partners with the legislature. They are designated by school law to administer the school system in each district. In addition to the nine member board, the board employs a lawyer to advise and administer school law, a secretary to maintain complete and accurate records of the school directors' meetings and other official business, and a treasurer who is in charge of the business and financial matters of the district. The board also appoints the superintendent. The superintendent serves as a non-voting member of the board and, along with an administrative team, acts as the professional resource for educational actions taken by the board.

Responsibilities of the Board
The Allentown School board sets the policies and engages in planning within the guidelines of the Pennsylvania School Code. The board's responsibility to provide a free public education basically contains three major functions: planning, setting policy, and evaluating results.

  • Planning - The board is required to engage in long-range planning by regulations of the State Board of Education. Appropriate reports of the results of such planning are filed with the Department of Education. Long-range planning activities include enrollment projections, staffing needs, building usage and budget requirements.
  • Setting Policy - The central responsibility of the board is to be the policy-forming body. Policies governing the operation of Allentown schools are formed in response to local needs and desires. Policy means actions of the board that set written goals and objectives for the school.
  • Evaluating Results - The board's third responsibility is to evaluate the results of planning. Evaluation occurs continually both formally and informally.

Some Required Duties

  • Adopt courses of study in consultation with the superintendent.
  • Specify time and place for board meetings.
  • Establish the length of the school term.
  • Adopt textbooks.
  • Retain the minutes, the auditor's annual reports, each annual financial report and other documents.
  • Take action on certain matters only by an affirmative vote of the majority of all members of the board, showing how each member voted.
  • Elect superintendent and hire necessary employees.
  • Enter into written contracts with professional employees and into collective bargaining agreements.
  • Adopt an annual budget.
  • Levy taxes.
  • Provide necessary grounds and school buildings.
  • Provide special education for mentally or physically handicapped children.

Board Meetings
Each board meeting follows a set agenda that is available prior to the start of each meeting. The agenda may be picked up at the table on the right as you enter the boardroom. It is also available online via BoardDocs.

The Allentown School District invites all residents of the Allentown area to attend School Board meetings. Decisions of the School Board affect the quality of our children's education, our tax rates, as well as the quality of community life.

Meeting Dates
The Allentown School Board generally meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In November and December, the meetings are moved up one week to accommodate the holidays. Committee meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the second and third Thursdays prior to the Board Meetings. All meetings are held in the Board Meeting Room, on the first floor of the Allentown School District Administrative Office Building, located at 31 South Penn Street, Allentown.

Addressing the Board
The board recognizes the value to school governance of public comment on educational issues and the importance of involving members of the public in board meetings. The board provides a period for public participation at the beginning of the meeting for agenda items and at the end of formal business for non-agenda items.

If you wish to address publicly the board at a meeting, you must fill in a "Request to Address the Board" card (located on the table at the right inside the entrance door). The card should contain your name, address, and your topic of concern. The card should then be handed to the Secretary to the Board prior to the start of the meeting. Remarks of a personal nature directed against any individual will be ruled out of order. The Board President may request a limit to the discussion due to the length of the meeting agenda. This same procedure is followed at all committee meetings.

Requests for Information
If you have any questions related to education or questions concerning the school district in general, call the Secretary to the Board at 484-765-4266. The secretary will type a form with your request and give it to the superintendent. You will be provided with an answer either over the telephone or in writing.

Parents or guardians who have a specific concern about their child's education or school are urged to bring the problem to the attention of the student's teacher, school counselor, school nurse or person closest to the situation. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be found, the matter should be referred to the assistant principal, then the principal. If further attention is required, the problem will be referred to the school supervisor, and then to the superintendent.